IKEA image intact


If you step into a stranger’s house, you take off your shoes at the doorway.

It’s common courtesy. You’ve never lived in that house before, and you’re not initially aware of what the rules of the house are.

If that’s true, then you wouldn’t enter someone else’s country and keep your shoes on.

You especially wouldn’t stomp mud all through said country and refuse to take your shoes off.

The National Post published an article on Monday about popular furniture company IKEA receiving criticism for not valuing gender equality.

The charge? IKEA’s catalogues in Saudi Arabia have had women airbrushed out of their photographs.

Due to strict religious laws in Saudi Arabia, women are required to be covered up in their clothing and show as little skin as possible.

The National Post article also said that, when a Starbucks was opened in the country, the iconic Starbucks logo of a woman with a crown had to have the woman removed from it.

With these incidents in mind, it’s clear that the people of Saudi Arabia take this very seriously.

Are these laws discriminatory against women? Yes. Is gender equality a fundamental right that should be adhered to in every country all over the world? Absolutely.

If only things were as simple as that.

The reality is, IKEA is a company foreign to Saudi Arabia, entering the country solely to try to sell their product to it’s people.

It makes sense that they would try to adhere to the norms of the country they are trying to sell their product in and be respectful of the existing social and legal guidelines.

IKEA soon released a statement apologizing for their apparent grievous error of discrimination against women.

I think this was unnecessary.

IKEA wasn’t in the wrong in this situation.

What they did was not 100 per cent morally ethical, but ultimately, it was the most respectful decision they could have made.

There was no reason for the people of Saudi Arabia to be insulted and offended when looking at a furniture catalogue.

IKEA has done nothing wrong by running their business in a polite and courteous way.

They simply took their shoes off at the front door. Who apologizes for doing that?

Savoula is the Arts Editor at the Journal.


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