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Dear Daughters, IKEA regrets marketing decision but the damage is done

Dear Daughters,

IKEA, a well-known Swedish home furnishings company, removed women from its ads in the Saudi Arabian version of its catalogue – a move it now says it regrets. When comparing the Swedish version of the catalogue to the Saudi Arabian version, the pictures are identical – minus the women.

In a bathroom scence in the Swedish version there is a woman, a man and two young children. In the Saudi version there are simply the man and two young children. In the Swedish ad for bookshelves/storage units there are two women standing by a featured white storage unit but in the Saudi version there are none. In a very large and colorful living room furnishings spread there are three men and one woman in the Swedish version but in the Saudi version you’ll never guess whose left…or maybe you will. If you guessed only three men, then you were right. Guess it is obvious what IKEA is doing in the Saudi ads.

IKEA’s decision to remove women from the Saudi Arabian version of their catalogue demonstrates the ongoing oppression of women. It is sadly clear that IKEA chose sales over women’s rights. By trying to appeal to the Saudi Arabian market they have offended large numbers of both existing and potential customers over the world.

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