News24

Women shelved in Ikea's Saudi catalogue

2012-10-01 17:31

Stockholm - Swedish furniture giant Ikea has landed itself in hot water in its home country after women and girls were airbrushed out of some of the pictures in its Saudi Arabian catalogue.

A local version of Ikea's yearly catalogue, published on its Saudi website, shows images that are identical to those in other editions save for one detail: the women are gone.

"We are looking into the issue and holding a dialogue with our Saudi franchise holder," said Ulrika Englesson Sandman, a spokesperson for Inter Ikea Systems, which owns the Ikea trademark and concept.

When entering a new market the company always takes into account the ability to balance local culture and legislation with its own values, she added.

The removal of women from the pages of the Saudi edition, including a young girl who was pictured studying at her desk, has prompted a strong response from Swedes, who pride themselves on egalitarian policies and a narrow gender gap.

"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," Trade Minister Ewa Bjoerling said in a statement.

Her sentiment was echoed by Swedish European Union Minister Birgitta Ohlsson, who branded the incident "medieval" on social networking site Twitter.

Saudi Arabia applies strict rules of gender segregation, banning women from driving and requiring them to have permission from a male guardian before travelling or receiving medical care.

Ikea's Saudi franchise partner currently operates three stores in the country, where it has seen "double digit" yearly growth over the past five years, according to its website.

Comments
  • mario.dippenaar - 2012-10-01 17:50

    Want to see more? ???????????????????????????? http://i.imgur.com/pskLk.jpg ???????????????????????????? Also it seems that Saudi men probably showed up to IKEA expecting to be able to buy the women represented in the advertisements. This seems like a logical step.

  • Shirley Van Heerden - 2012-10-01 18:47

    Hey!!! Chop!!! Your Momma is a women...remember?

  • Gcodi Mahomed - 2012-10-01 19:56

    @shirly da heathen,and your momma was a man?whats your point?

  • The-Azanian - 2012-10-01 20:21

    ...And America and the rest of us just zip our big mouths about it because we are scared that petrol might cost R120 a litre tommorow while teenage girls are being forcefully entered into arranged marriages with married older men...and the arabs keep on saying we are immoral, thought africa was on the bottom of list when it comes to human rights violations until this. Countries like Norway and Australia that have discovered how useless we male species can be are currently topping the world peace index and human development index ranking. Who knows maybe king abdullah was given birth to by a man.

  • hermann.hanekom - 2012-10-01 20:38

    When in an Islam country you will abide by their rules and customs. When the Islam comes to your country you will lean over backwards to accommodate them. Fair is unfair and acceptable, not so. What a vile religion.

  • muhammad.mokoena - 2012-10-01 20:39

    Its about you stop imposing the law of the jungle secularist imbeciles!!

      The-Azanian - 2012-10-01 20:54

      Muhammed mokoena = alloying undesired characters. More like we are into strikes and they are into explosives you know...and the combinations of those two characters...eish end of SA...

  • muhammad.mokoena - 2012-10-01 20:42

    Its about you stop imposing the law of the jungle secularist imbeciles!!

  • Kimbal.Margaret - 2012-10-01 22:59

    oh my gosh! news24, shame on you. this was on 9gag at 1pm today. looks like some of your journalists are on 9gag, instead of journ-alising out with us day walkers. but seriously, that's pretty bad.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-02 08:00

    "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," And this has been the problem of my beloved Africa as well, where over half of the continent's population has been rendered obselete!

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