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No woman no cry: IKEA Israel releases male-only catalogue Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

No woman no cry: IKEA Israel releases male-only catalogue

IKEA Israel issued a statement backing its decision to release the catalogue [screenshot]

Date of publication: 17 February, 2017

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Swedish furniture giant IKEA released a special version of its catalogue for Israel’s ultra-conservative community which featured no images of women.
Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA distributed a separate store catalogue in Israel, excluding pictures of women, Ynet reported on Wednesday.

The furniture retailer – which has three chains in Israel – aimed the new catalogue at ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel, known as Haredim.

The retailer also included in the catalogue products aimed at the ultra-conservative community - known for having large families - such as baby cribs, bunk beds and book shelves for religious books, according to Ynet.

IKEA Israel issued a statement backing its decision to release the catalogue.

"Due to requests we received, we decided to launch an alternative and special catalogue, which allows the religious and Haredi communities to enjoy thumbing through our products and the solutions that IKEA offers in accordance with their lifestyle," Ynet reported.

IKEA said the standard catalogue is available in its stores alongside the religious version.

The move sparked a wave of criticism from social media users.

"Where did the mother go in this picture?" one user asked, referring to an image of a family meal that only portrays a father and his sons.

"Oh this is great. I didn't know there are single-parent families in the Haredi sector too," another user said.

The move sparked a wave of criticism from social media users [screenshot of IKEA catalogue]

This is not the first time the Swedish retailer omitted images of women from its catalogues. In 2012, the company apologised for airbrushing women out of pictures in catalogues release in Saudi Arabia.

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

"We are now reviewing our routines to safeguard a correct content presentation from a values point-of-view in the different versions of the Ikea catalogue worldwide."

In Israel, the ultra-Orthodox community makes up around 11 percent of Israelis, according to a 2014 estimate by JDC-Brookdale Institute.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women traditionally dress in long skirts and long-sleeved tops, while married women cover their hair.

Images of women - particularly their faces - are banned for reasons of modesty.

The ban is usually applied by ultra-Orthodox publications, which impose it to all pictures of women, including world leaders and major public figures.

In 2015, Hamevaser newspaper made headlines after it published an altered photograph of a world leaders parade in solidarity with Paris following terrorist attacks, with the faces of female leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, notably cut-off from the altered version.

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