Roccamore runs a #RespectHighHeels: More women in the boardrooms campaign on International Women's Day, it backfires

This campaign from roccamore - the comfortable high heels brand - launched just in time for International Women's Day and wants to promote more women on the board of directors. 

"Only 20% of all board members in Danish companies are female - 1 woman for every 4 men. It's 6%, if you remove family connections."

Well, that is a tiny number, and on the boards that I've been on I was the only woman, so I can believe those stats. Then the campaign introduces its heroes, the board members that want to change things, and each one of these people wear roccamore comfortable heels from collections named after them, and this is where it goes all pear-shaped. The heels from these special collections are made to order, in sizes from 35-46, just in case any other board member men want to strut their stuff in heels.

Bjarne Corydon is the editor-in-chief of Dagbladet Børsen. He is a former Minister of Finance and a member of the Social Democrats.

The five "rebels" selected are all prominent business people in Denmark, they're investors, former finance minister politicians, best-selling authors, and startup founders. They are four men, in heels, and one woman, in heels. It's a shoe brand, of course, they want to show off their shoes, but this inadvertently highlights the uncomfortable fashion a businesswoman endures, versus what men typically wear. Putting the product itself in a negative light. Why can't businesswomen simply wear flat leather brogues just like men? What happens when men wear heels, do they become women? If we slap a wig on the men in this grouping, do we get a more diverse board? So many questions!

In the main commercial, we see a montage from the photoshoot and interviews with the board members. Bjarne Corydon quips that his heels aren't that bad, they're actually pretty comfortable.  At the end of the ad, Mia Wagner, co-founder of Nordic Female Founders, which aims to create diversity in entrepreneurship muses about the future. 

"My dream is that in just 10 years, we will have diversity on the Danish boards.
So that there is not only room for women, but also for the genders that lie in between, different ages, ethnicities and religions."

Now, posing provocatively in high heels to highlight the lack of women at the board level says a lot about how people perceive women. Let's use pink as the main color for this campaign. Let's make the limited edition shoes in Gold and orange glitter. Let's name one of the shoes "foxy lady" - no, seriously they did that too. 

The campaign website tells us that the limited edition designs, that are made to order come in the unusually large size range 35-46, it seems that the brand would like men to order some heels too. At least that part is kind of challenging the weird beauty standards that is imposed on female leadership. It's bold if they're requiring the men in leadership to heel up and break these norms? But the hashtag #RespectHighHeels - meaning women in heels - undermines that idea. Either "heels" that we shall respect here represent women who the campaigns wish to see on the board of directors, and anyone wearing heels suddenly becomes a woman, or this campaign is talking about "respecting" a type of shoe. 

The #RespectHighHeels campaign ends with an event on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange on 19 and 20 March 2022, where you're invited for free to hear inspiring speakers and get ready for joining the boards of the future. It had been roundly mocked on various social media already. The topic may be important, but the execution is rather odd. This is actually a real shame as Roccamore's founder, CEOCreative Director, and brain behind the brand who sits as head of the board is Frederikke Schmidt, a talented female entrepreneur once featured in Forbes

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