Ikea airbrushes women out of images in Saudi Arabian catalog

An image of a woman is removed from the Saudi catalog (pictured right).

Swedish furniture retailer Ikea has erased women from the pages of its Saudi Arabian catalog.

The 2013 catalog, printed in 27 languages for distribution in 38 countries, looks almost alike worldwide, displaying identical interiors of kitchens and bathrooms. However, in the Saudi version women appear to be removed from the images. Metro Sweden first discovered the inconsistency on Ikea’s online catalogs earlier this week.

For example, in the Swedish version of the catalog, a mother can be seen standing at a sink beside her child in a bathroom. But in the Saudi catalog, the mother is absent.

In another image, a young girl who appears to be doing homework has also been airbrushed.

Under Saudi Arabia’s strict Muslim law, women are not allowed to drive, vote or be outside of their home without the guardianship of a male relative.

Sweden’s Minister for Trade Ewa Björling said the retouched images are a sad example of the oppression of women.

“You cannot retouch women from reality,” she told Metro. “If Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow women to be seen or work they miss out on half their intellectual capital. These images are yet another sad example of the long road to gender equality in Saudi Arabia.”

Ikea has since apologized for the catalog retouching. “As editors of the catalog, we are sorry about this,” Ikea spokesperson Josefin Thorell told Metro. “We should have reacted and seen that this is in conflict with Ikea’s values.”

The Ikea group will “revise their procedures” to avoid similar situations in the future. It is still unclear whether the Saudi catalogue will be withdrawn or not.

What remains unclear is who is responsible for the decision to airbrush women out of the catalog – Ikea or a local entity in Saudi Arabia.

A spokeswoman for Inter Ikea Systems, a branch of Ikea that oversees franchises, says that the Swedish retailer should take the blame.

“What has come out during our contacts with Saudi Arabia during the day is that it isn’t the local franchise that has done something wrong. It is our responsibility at Inter Ikea Systems,” Ulrika Englesson Sandman told Metro Sweden.

“The franchise owner has been presented with images without women. The image with a woman in the bathroom and the female designer could very well have been featured in the catalog for Saudi Arabia.”

Now Ikea are mulling over on how to proceed. One alternative is to print a new catalog.

“The catalog has already been distributed, are we going to print it again? Those are options we are looking at,” said Sandman.

Saudi Arabia has three Ikea stores, in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dhahran.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

City Council to vote on bill banning anonymous…

One of the two bills would make it so any type of communication paid for or okayed by a campaign disclose that they are involved in any way.

National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Aug. 20: 'Extant,' 'Legends'…

See a two hour block of Halle Berry's scifi show, "Extant."

The Word

The Word: Mischa Barton in trouble, not that…

  People are really, really worried about Mischa Barton. Again. The former "O.C." star is reportedly in deep financial trouble and can't seem to get…

Movies

Review: 'The One I Love' has a top…

Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass play a frayed couple who happen on something mysterious in "The One I Love," which we can't spoil.

Movies

Review: The semi-good times don't last in the…

Despite the occasional blast of Iggy Pop and The Buzzcocks, the YA move "If I Stay" — with a near-dead Chloe Grace Moretz — soon turns maudlin.

NFL

Jace Amaro continues to deal with issue dropping…

Jets second-round pick Jace Amaro has been plagued by drops since minicamp in June.

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

Parenting

Fun family activity: Off-Broadway show for pre-teens

"The Love Note" is an off-Broadway musical your pre-teen won't roll his or her eyes at.

Parenting

Barnes & Noble partners with Samsung to release…

Barnes & Noble releases the first full android tablet optimized for reading.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Food

The Chic Wife tells us how to use…

Kris Schoels, aka The Chic Wife, grew up on a farm with peach trees. August is National Peach Month, but Kris Schoels doesn’t need a reason…