IKEA’s foolish decision about Saudi catalog

13 Oct

IKEA is criticized for deleting all women from Saudi catalog and now the company regrets its actions. A family dinner photo was also omitted from the catalog. Many people question IKEA’s position on gender equality.

I think this issue more likely illustrates a business’ inability to expand to a completely different culture, as well as a shallow-minded decision.

Women are supposed to cover their face and hair with scarfs in Saudi Arabia. This is true, and I assume, this is the reason that IKEA chose to erase the women from the catalog. I don’t think IKEA attempted to show sexism. Although this issue happened because of lack of research and understanding that is IKEA’s fault, we cannot assume IKEA does not support women’s rights. If the catalog was made by Saudi Arabian employees, it would be a gender issue. However, since the catalog was adapted for the Saudi Arabian market, the issue is more likely a culture misunderstanding.

Since culture and gender are sensitive issues, IKEA should have used Arabic women or had models dressing in the traditional garb.

Also, the Saudi case is not the first time for IKEA has faced criticism from altering its catalogs.  IKEA has had many problems and most of them could have be avoided if IKEA considered them more carefully. IKEA needs to rebuild its image and its attitude to the public. Otherwise, everyone will think that not only its furniture is cheap, but its morals as well.


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