Thyra Dane

Author of Romance. Blogs about Scandinavia, Vikings and books.

I`m angry. And I`m disappointed.

IKEA, a Swedish furniture company which has done so much good for minorities, at least here, has decided to delete women from their catalog. Not world-wide, of course, but from their Saudi-Arabian catalog.

IKEA stands for family values but has decided women are not a part of those values. They`ve gone through their catalog and have carefully taken away pictures of women. Even a female designer (one of four designers) disappeared from the Saudi-Arabian catalog.  I`m so in shock. Making women invisible is the ultimate oppression – we`re not even there to be seen. Let alone heard.

Money more important than liberty

IKEA may claim that they have to do this to sell their furniture in Saudi-Arabia but would the world really have gone under if Saudi-Arabians couldn`t buy Billy-shelves or the chair Ektorp? Maybe IKEA should have taken a hard look at the values of the country the company comes from? Women are SO not invisible in Sweden. They are a natural part of all levels of politics, business and culture. Steps have been taken to ensure than men and women have equal rights and equal opportunities. Swedish men stay at home for months when their babies are born, for Pete`s sake.

But money is apparently more important to IKEA than the Swedish values. IKEA likes using the Swedish colors of blue and yellow everywhere in their stores but when it comes to the cash register, IKEA will do anything to make a few Saudi-Arabian Riyals – even sell their soul.

I`m embarrassed

I`m embarrassed on behalf of IKEA. My house is full of IKEA products but I have a foul taste in my mouth when I look at them. I`ve always loved IKEA but now I feel betrayed. What happened to a company with great values – coming from a country in the forefront of the fight for gender equality?

Money talks, apparently 🙁

Read more about IKEA taking away women from their catalog

9 thoughts on “IKEA Deletes Women from Catalog

  1. Alison Griffiths says:

    Disgraceful, me and ikea are done, and I’ll be telling them why too.

    1. thyra10 says:

      I have the same feeling – and I`ve been spamming their Facebook feed. This is so against what I thought were Swedish values and IKEA values, I just want to throw out my Billy bookshelves and my couch. Arrgh. Not going to buy a new bed at IKEA`s – that`s for sure.

  2. MistressCinder says:

    Very frustrating that a large successful company such as Ikea feels it needs to throw out their morals and pander to a repressive regime to sell their products. Women will never be totally equal in this world if decisions like this one are not questioned.

    1. thyra10 says:

      Me too and I would never have expected that from IKEA. I would have thought they would have taken a stand against this. I truly hope this was a wake-up call for IKEA – and for other companies doing this!

  3. ReefChic7 says:

    Wow…I am stunned and incredibly disappointed. Ikea is the last place I would ever expect something like this to happen. What has their stance on this been?

    1. thyra10 says:

      Yeah, me too. I contacted IKEA Norway and they apologized and gave some kind of excuse, stating that they didn`t really realize what that franchise company in Saudi-Arabia was doing – even though the catalog wasn`t printed there but the same place as all the other catalogs.

  4. Actually, since it is only in Saudi Arabia that they did that…I would say that it isn’t Ikea that doesn’t believe women are part of family values, but rather those Arabs that live in Saudi Arabia. Marketing targets the minds of people, and if marketing changes, often enough it isn’t the company that has changed, it is their audience.

    It is shameful that Ikea caved in and removed the woman from the ad. But it is important to remember they are not the root of this. Saudi Arabia is, where they make their women wear shapeless bags, will not let them drive or be free, and treat them worse than animals.

    1. thyra10 says:

      I both agree and disagree with you (like the true Scandinavian I am). Yes, this was only done in one country and yes, the values of that country were the reason for this.
      But it was done by IKEA – specifically the department in IKEA which makes the catalogs. They saw what they were doing and they should have reacted. Companies that go against their own values – and the values of most of their customers world-wide – to please some people in one country is a huge problem. They condone a practice they should have condemned.
      I don`t expect Saudi-Arabia to change but I do expect a company like IKEA, a company which has very clear values, to stand by those values even if it can cost them money.

      1. Lucius Svartwulf says:

        fair enough.

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