The Prophet (PBUH) beautifully said, If, through fear of Allah, tears–even to the extent of a fly’s head–fall from any believer’s eyes and drop on some part of his cheek, he will be kept away from Hell.
I don't wear a niqab, but it's true. People criticize Islam for being oppressive when their hatred and prejudice is the real oppression. What they don't realize is that women in Islam had equal rights from the start -- the rights women still fought for throughout the 20th century, and continue to fight for today. Any inequality in Middle Eastern countries today comes from culture, not religion.