Things That Matter

Ms. Monopoly Fixes The Gender Pay Gap By Giving Women Players More Money

Hasbro is launching a “feminist” version of Monopoly called Ms. Monopoly. The new version is intended to address the gender pay gap by paying women players more money. The board game will also highlight women trailblazers throughout history. It’s supposed to be a fun exercise that will illuminate how when a certain group is given advantages over another at birth, the odds are stacked against any opponents. Now, it will certainly not be effective in capturing the real emotional, psychological, physical trauma women experience as the second class citizens of the world. However, seeing how angry it makes annoying bros sounds like the beginning of restorative justice to me.

The new game is not without criticism, many pointed out one very important fact about Monopoly — the game was invented by a woman whose historical contribution has been strategically erased by Hasbro. Moreover, it’s hard to wonder what men will want to play a game that is set up for them to fail. But by that logic, women, people of color, disabled people and LGBTQ+ people should all just quit life… 

So to the men who are sulking about this game, if you think you’re so much smarter than us girls, then I guess you shouldn’t have any problem beating us with the advantages, huh? 

Ms. Monopoly will close the gender pay gap.

In Ms. Monopoly women will make more money than men, although as noted in a press release, it is possible for savvier men players to earn more. The new board game is also far more modern than the original version. Serving to highlight inventions by women, things like WiFi, chocolate chip cookies, solar heating, and shapewear will be featured. Instead of building houses, players will build business headquarters. 

The cover will also get a makeover, “the Ms. Monopoly game marks the first time in the franchise’s history where a new character will grace the cover – and while Mr. Monopoly is a real-estate mogul, Ms. Monopoly is an advocate whose mission is to invest in female entrepreneurs.” 

Ms. Monopoly pays young women inventors $20,580

To commemorate the launch of Ms. Monopoly, Hasbro surprised young inventors and entrepreneurs with real money to fund their projects. Meet your new heroes. Gitanjali Rao, a 13-year-old girl from Denver who invented a personal device that helps detect lead in drinking waters. Rao’s goal is to manufacture a cheap, portable device so that it can be used around the world. 

Sophia Wang, a 16-year-old from Connecticut, created a device that detects sinkholes before they occur. After spending two years on the project, her prototype is 93% accurate. She wants to get her important work to Florida where sinkholes are more prevalent. Lastly, there’s 16-year-old Ava Canney from Ireland. She invented a spectrometer that measures the amount of dye — a harmful additive — in candy and soda. 

If you’re wondering what you are doing with your life, I am too. But instead of feeling envious of these young women, I am so proud that it’s young women around the world creating these devices to help others. 

Hasbro erases the history of one female inventor.

Author of the book The Monopolists, a history of Monopoly, Mary Pilon writes in the New Yorkerthat the feminism in Ms. Monopoly is misplaced. In 1903, the feminist writer, activist, and game designer Lizzie Magie filed a patent for the Landlord’s Game. It was intended to highlight the dangers of capitalism. Today that game is known as Monopoly. 

While it is now well-accepted that Magie invented the game, it is not well-known, and Hasbro has continuously refused to acknowledge this. How can they purport to create a feminist game that highlights overlooked women inventors, when they are in effect, erasing their own? 

“Magie’s story is widely accepted by game historians and bolstered by at least two patents, myriad newspaper clippings, U.S. Census records, letters, several sworn depositions, the U.S. Supreme Court, and acknowledgment in the National Women’s History Museum and the Smithsonian,” Pilon wrote. 

“But, when I asked a Hasbro spokeswoman this week about Magie and the Ms. Monopoly game, she credited Charles Darrow as the person who had invented the game, in 1935, three decades after Magie had received her patent.” 

No, a board game is not going to fix sexism. 

No one expects that a board game is going to correct sexism, but it can teach us about it. Moreover, history matters. The erasure of women’s contributions only feeds into the mythology that women have nothing at all to contribute to society. Often when asked why there aren’t more successful women in a certain field, people respond with something dismissive like, “well, maybe women just aren’t good at this particular thing.”

Perhaps, if corporations, who wield an enormous amount of influence on public discourse, didn’t erase those successful women from history, we would have a different perception of women entirely.