World of Women
Try assembling this: IKEA airbrushes women from Saudi catalogues
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Their instructions may be mind boggling, but there's something else that defies logic from Ikea.
The Swedish furniture giant has been the subject of international criticism for airbrushing women out of catalogues that are distributed in Saudi Arabia. Swedish media company Metro were the first to notice the stark image differences.
Though the move falls in line with Saudi's strict gender segregation policies, IKEA has attempted to distance itself from the blunder, claiming that the catalogue images do not reflect the company's social conscience.
IKEA Group issued a statement, delcaring that its values "support the fundamental human rights of all people" and "do not accept any kind of discrimination." IKEA Saudi Arabia, it said, is run by a franchisee outside the IKEA Group.
"As a producer of the catalog, we regret the current situation," the statement read. "We should have reacted to the exclusion of women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalog since it does not align with the IKEA Group values."
Swedish Trade Minister Ewa Bjoerling issued a statement criticising the company: "You can't remove or airbrush women out of reality. If Saudi Arabia does not allow women to be seen or heard, or to work, they are letting half their intellectual capital go to waste" she said.
"These images are yet another regrettable example that shows we have a long road ahead when it comes to gender equality in Saudi Arabia."
Her reproach was echoed by Swedish European Union Minister Birgitta Ohlsson, who branded the incident "medieval" on Twitter.
And now that they have evoked the indignation of the world, IKEA are rethinking their catalogue editing methods.
"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."