The new catalog from Swedish furniture giants IKEA has just been released, in most parts of the world it is pretty much identical except of course for the different languages. However Saudi Arabia’s version of the catalog is completely devoid of women and this glaring error was recently pointed out by the Swedish edition of the Metro.
The pictures show the difference between the images – in some the women have been airbrushed out or deleted. Other images have just been chopped altogether. They even deleted an image of Audrey Hepburn!
A statement from the company expresses regret over the situation. Ylva Magnusson, a spokeswoman for the group said: “As a producer of the catalog, we regret the current situation…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 blamed the error on the fact that the Saudi operation is in the hands of a franchisee.
In Saudi Arabia women lead a restrictive life, they are not permitted to drive, must be covered up whenever they leave their homes and do not have the right to vote (although reforms are currently being put through to allow them some involvement in the electoral process.)