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IKEA 'Deletes' Women from Saudi Catalogue

Swedish home and furniture retailer Ikea has been criticized for deleting images of women from the Saudi version of its catalogue.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 10/2/2012, 5:33 PM

Arab women
Arab women
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Swedish home and furniture retailer IKEA, which has two branches in israel,  has been criticized for deleting images of women from the Saudi version of its catalogue.

The Sweden-based Metro newspaper printed side-by-side images of the Swedish and Saudi issues of the catalogue, showing that women had been airbrushed out of the Saudi version.

In one picture of a family in a bathroom, the mother standing at the sink with her son was removed. 

Sweden’s trade minister Ewa Björling told Metro that the vanishing women were a "sad example" of gender inequality in Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive and must be completely covered in public, may not own property or leave the house without their husband's permission.

IKEA said it regretted the decision and issued a statement saying, “We should have reacted and realized that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the IKEA Group values.”