By Emma Clark
Ikea has apologised for airbrushing women out of the Saudi version of its furniture magazine – which was previously identical across the world.
The Swedish manufacturer said today that it regrets the decision to delete all woman and most girls from the Saudi printed edition and website, after questions were raised over the company’s commitments to gender equality.
A comparison of the Saudi version alongside its other catalogue shows exactly the same photographs of interiors and products – but with all women erased.
Even a female designer from the company was airbrushed out of a cover picture on the Saudi edition, while her three male colleagues remained in the picture.
Sweden’s Minister of Trade Ewa Björling argued that the retouched images are a ‘sad example that shows that there is a long way to go in terms of equality between men and women in Saudi Arabia.’
‘Women cannot be retouched away in reality.
‘If Saudi Arabia does not allow women to appear [in public] or work, they lose about half their intellectual capital,’ she told Swedish newspaper Metro.’