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updated: 10/1/2012 8:07 AM

Ikea deleted women from Saudi version of catalogue

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Associated Press

STOCKHOLM -- Ikea is being criticized for deleting images of women from the Saudi version of its furniture catalogue, a move the company says it regrets.

Comparing the Swedish and Saudi versions of the Ikea catalogue, Sweden's free newspaper Metro on Monday showed that women had been airbrushed out of otherwise identical pictures showcasing the company's home furnishings.

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The report raised questions in Sweden about Ikea's commitment to gender equality. The country's trade minister Ewa Bjorling didn't criticize Ikea directly but told Metro that you can't delete women from society.

Ikea released a statement expressing regret, saying "We should have reacted and realized that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the IKEA Group values."

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