Ikea's Saudi Arabian catalogue looks like any other Ikea catalogue—weird beds with names you can't pronounce, merchandise that looks way better in photos than it will in your living room—except for one thing: there are no women. They've disappeared... poof! Like they were never there. Sweden's free newspaper, Metro, reported the Photoshopping on Monday. We took a look, and the picture (above) shows that the woman on the left (the U.S. version) has magically disappeared from the Saudi version on the right. Comparing the two, there are also altered ads like this below (Saudi version right) where Ikea has edited out a woman shopping at Ikea:
And there seems to be woman that disappears from what looks to be a comfy chair:
The Saudi catalog does show young girls doing things like drawing, sleeping and watching television, and there are ads which depict men with women that have been swapped for ones that just show furniture and product, like this:
And the Saudi version:
"These images are yet another lamentable example of how much remains to be done concerning gender equality in Saudi Arabia ... You cannot be airbrushed from reality" Swedish Trade Minister Ewa Bjorling told Metro. But the odd thing is and as bad as some of the news regarding gender equality in Saudi Arabia is, is that it was Ikea's decision to doctor the images. "According to the information Metro now, it's not that anyone in Saudi Arabia wanted to remove women from the catalog." reads the Metro report (via Google Translate) citing an "Inter Ikea Systems" spokeswoman. Of course,bending to/anticipating Saudi Arabian views of gender to sell your goods seems goes against the Ikea's funding decisions to organizations like the The Lila Poonawalla Foundation, a scholarship foundation aimed at women from disadvantaged families, Women on Wings, an organization committed to helping women achieve employment, and the United Nations Development Fund—Ikea's own website has a "Voices of Women" portal citing their UNDP involvement.