Ikea apologises for deleting women from Saudi catalogue

Ikea, the Swedish furniture superstore, has apologised for airbrushing women out of its Saudi Arabian catalogue, which it said was "in conflict with the Ikea Group values".

Ikea: woman is airbrushed out of photo (left) for Saudi Arabian catalogue
Ikea: woman is airbrushed out of photo (left) for Saudi Arabian catalogue

In the Saudi Arabian version of the Ikea catalogue, all images of women, including the photograph credit of a female designer and family scenes throughout the catalogue, have been airbrushed out.

Ikea in Saudi Arabia is run by a separate franchisee company, but the Ikea Group produces the Ikea catalogue for all Ikea markets and has admitted it modified the catalogue to take out images of women.

In one photograph of a family in a bathroom, a mother brushing her teeth was airbrushed out to leave just her partner and children in the image. In another, a woman is removed from a page showing bedclothes.

A spokesman from Ikea said: "As a producer of the catalogue, we regret the current situation. We should have reacted and realised that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the Ikea Group values.

"We are now reviewing our routines to safeguard a correct content presentation from a values point of view in the different versions of the Ikea Catalogue worldwide. We are also discussing the future execution of the catalogue with Inter Ikea Systems BV."

Full statement from Ikea

"The Ikea Group is a values-based company. We support the fundamental human rights of all people and we do not accept any kind of discrimination. We encourage fair treatment and equal employment opportunities without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, age or sexual orientation.

"Ikea Saudi Arabia is run by a franchisee outside the Ikea Group. Ikea Group produces the catalogue on behalf of Inter Ikea Systems BV, the franchisor of the Ikea retail system, for all IKEA markets inside and outside the Ikea Group.

"As a producer of the catalogue, we regret the current situation. We should have reacted and realised that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the Ikea Group values.

"We are now reviewing our routines to safeguard a correct content presentation from a values point-of-view in the different versions of the Ikea Catalogue worldwide. We are also discussing the future execution of the catalogue with Inter Ikea Systems BV."

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