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Spot The Difference: IKEA Photoshops Women Out Of Saudi Arabia Catalogue

METRO (Sweden), SPIEGEL ONLINE (Germany)

STOCKHOLM – Need more space in the room? IKEA may have found a new solution.

 Sweden’s free newspaper Metro noticed that women had been airbrushed out of the Saudi edition of the Swedish home furnishings store’s 2013 catalogue.

Sweden's Minister for Trade Ewa Björling told Metro: "You cannot erase women from reality," adding that the images were "yet another sad example of how much remains to be done concerning gender equality in Saudi Arabia."

Saudi Arabia, a country where women must be covered in public, has particularly strict rules when it comes to the amount of skin women can show in advertising.

IKEA, known for its provocative publicity stunts, had already sparked controversy on its Russian website earlier this year, by featuring a picture showing four people sporting colorful balaclavas, in the style of Russian political punk rock band Pussy Riot, Spiegel Online reports.

The picture, part of an online contest to select the cover for IKEA Russia’s next catalogue, was quickly replaced by a statement saying that, “Ikea is a commercial organization that operates independently of politics and religion. We cannot allow our advertising project to be used as a means of propaganda," according to The Moscow Times.

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