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Ikea founder calls for more women

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16:50 CET+01:00
The founder of Swedish furniture giant Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, wants to see more women in the group's management positions, he said in a documentary to be aired on Swedish television on Tuesday.

"We ought to have more women in various management positions, because women are the ones who decide almost everything in the home," Kamprad said, according to excerpts published in daily Dagens Nyheter.

"It's very strange that we don't have more women decision-makers and women in positions of power," he said.

According to Ikea spokeswoman Charlotte Lindgren, the company today counts 50 percent women among all of its employees globally, while 30 percent of store managers and 20 percent of top management are women.

Out of the group's 11 board members, two are women.

"In Sweden things are much better. Here there are more female store managers and (women in) top management than men," she told AFP, adding that about 60 percent of such positions are held by women in the Scandinavian country.

The issue of gender equality in the boardroom has been a topic of recent debate in Scandinavia, with many companies vowing to increase their female representation.

In neighbouring Norway, the 500 or so public limited companies are scrambling to appoint at least 40 percent women to their boards within the next two years or face dismantling under a new law introduced on January 1st.

Kamprad, 79 and now a resident of Switzerland, was filmed by Sweden's TV4 in 2005 during a trip to Russia, a market heavily courted by Ikea.

In the documentary, he reiterates his plans to invest large sums in Russia - 30 billion kronor - Dagens Nyheter reported.

The company has already built several "Mega" commercial centres in Russia which include Ikea stores, and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ikea plans to open some 20 new stores across Russia in the coming years.

AFP

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