Ikea is coming under fire from a number of groups for reportedly removing women from the Saudi Arabian version of its catalog, according to the Associated Press. The company, meanwhile, has come forward on the matter, explaining that executives ultimately regret the decision to remove females from pictures of its numerous products.
“We should have reacted and realized that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalog is in conflict with the IKEA Group values,” the company said in a statement.
The Swedish Wire reports that almost all of the women shown in other versions of the Ikea catalog have been removed from the edition you can pick up in Saudi Arabia. Not surprisingly, the decision to excise these ladies hasn’t settled too well with a number of individuals.
“Women can not be retouched away in reality. If Saudi Arabia does not allow women to appear [in public] or work, they lose about half their intellectual capital,” Sweden’s minister of trade Ewa Bjorling explained to the Metro, a free Swedish newspaper. “These pictures is sad example that shows that there is a long way to go in terms of equality between men and women in Saudi Arabia.”
In the regular Ikea catalog, one image shows a family getting ready inside a bathroom. While a father dries off his child, mother and son stand at the sink with toothbrushes in-hand. However, in the Saudi Arabian version of the furniture catalog, mom has been airbrushed into oblivion. All that remains is the father and his two sons.
According to Business Insider, the removal of women didn’t stop with the models used in their pictorials. In the art section of Ikea’s popular catalog, a picture of Audrey Hepburn was replaced with a photo of a pattern.
For a look at the alternations to Ikea’s catalog, swing by The Swedish Wire. What are you feelings about Ikea’s decision to remove women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalog?