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IKEA's Saudi Arabia catalog erases women; company expresses regret

IKEA removed images of women from the Saudi Arabia version of its catalog, a decision that the furniture giant now says clashes with its values.

The image of a pajama-clad woman -- shown standing at a bathroom sink along with a young boy, a man and another young child nearby -- is erased in the catalog distributed in the Arab state. Some tableaux feature a co-ed mix of models for the Swedish catalog but no models for the Saudi Arabian copy.

"As a producer of the catalog, we regret the current situation," IKEA Group said. "We should have reacted to the exclusion of women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalog since it does not align with the IKEA Group values."

Why would IKEA regret removing women from its Saudi catalog? After all, the company was only demonstrating cultural sensitivity, one of the most important of liberal virtues.

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