The Swedish lifestyle and furniture giant Ikea came under fierce press and government criticism yesterday after it emerged the company had removed all images of women from the Saudi Arabian edition of its catalogue.
Some 200 million copies of the company’s forthcoming furniture, kitchen and household goods catalogue are set for distribution in 38 countries worldwide. They will appear in 27 languages. However, yesterday the Swedish newspaper Metro revealed that Ikea planned to bring out a special edition of its catalogue in Saudi Arabia from which all images of women had been systematically removed. The omissions appeared to be an effort to minimise the risk of upsetting Saudi customers.