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One of the most progressive companies, at least when it comes to relationships and families, has to issue an apology for photoshopping women out of the Saudi version of its catalog.
As this AP story notes:
Women appear only infrequently in Saudi-run advertising, mostly on Saudi-owned TV channels that show women in long dresses, scarves covering their hair and long sleeves. In imported magazines, censors black out many parts of a woman's body including arms, legs and chest.
This is the reality of doing business in certain parts of the world that aren't on the same page when it comes to, well, gender equality at least, and human rights at most.
This mess caused the gender-equality championing to ask the big question: WTF Ikea? Their Swedish Equality Minister, (seriously?)
Nyamko Sabuni noted that Ikea is a private company that makes its own decisions, but added that it also projects an image of Sweden around the world.
Swedish navel gazing aside, Ikea apologized after the fact, releasing a statement that in part read:
"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."
In other words, Ikea is expressing regret after the fact so they can keep the cash coming in from their three Saudi stores.
Might I suggest Ikea create a new line of bookcases. The "Kowtow," collection. Add some umlauts to it. Or one of those cute ø thingies. Everyone will love it!