Wednesday, May 04, 2005

IKEA under attack for cultural sensitivity
Clash of cultures fueled by the cult of gender balance

The company has been told by Norway’s Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik, to stop using so many images of men in its instruction leaflets.

He reportedly rejected the company's argument that it did not want to offend Muslims by depicting women building beds, sofas and bookcases. "This isn't good enough," he told a local paper. "It's important to promote attitudes for sexual equality, not least in Muslim nations."
Assembling an IKEA piece can be just as great a challenge for men as for women, the Norwegian leader had said. "I myself have great problems with screwing together such furniture."

In a recent statement, IKEA admitted that there were more men than women in its instruction leaflets, but that it did not know "the exact balance" between the sexes in its literature. "IKEA will now review its instructions leaflets to get a more even balance between men and women," said the statement. "IKEA places great stress on being open for all and equality is important in the IKEA catalogue and in every other form of communication," it continued.

The group acknowledged that women appearing in its manuals were not pictured wearing short skirts or sleeves to avoid offending people in various places around the world.

IKEA has about 2,000 products that need diagrammed instructions to assemble, and not one of these sheets shows a woman dealing with the problem of putting Swedish flat-packed furniture together, Verdens Gang newspaper reported.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home