Veil is not a recent invention. Veiling women has been a tradition in many societies both in history and in present times.
For instance, in many Hindu cultures, particularly among Rajputs in the north and west, there has been a predominant purdah practice for women where they are supposed to hide their face from men.
But, here is the crucial point.
Most people today, at least in the educated circles, identify it as a problem. Nobody claims that purdah is empowering these women. People don’t write books romanticising this practice. These women don’t march to symbolise their purdah as their identity. They don’t demand a right to cover their face when they go to work for TV, media, universities, police etc.
All because we, as a society, have more or less understood that veiling women is a silly idea even if it comes wrapped in the traditions or in misinterpretation of scriptures. That’s the simple truth. Nobody in the history of mankind has ever gained any power by veiling themselves. We know that. Don’t we?
I wish Muslim societies too could think along these lines.