School books published outside the kingdom were also subjected to the same treatment. As authorities were unable to block all print, film and music from entering the country, they had determined to edit as much of it as was possible.
Although the edited Ikea catalogue was allegedly produced by a third-party franchise, it is highly unlikely no one at Ikea was aware of the requested edits. The official statement read: “We should have reacted and realized that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the Ikea group values.”
Sweden is one of the more strident champions of women’s rights and in this instance there has clearly been a conflict between values and financial concerns. However, when it comes to Saudi Arabia, it would not be the first time a Western institution subordinates women’s rights to business interests.