Hasbro wants to take the conversation over the gender pay gap out of the board room and into the living room with its new Ms. Monopoly game, launching this month.
Dubbed "the first game where women make more than men," the updated version of the classic board-game introduces new women-centric elements, starting with its titular character. Ms. Monopoly is the niece of the elder Mr. Monopoly and a "self-made investment guru," according to the product listing on Walmart.com.
In the game, women get a head start: Female players receive $1,900 in Monopoly money at the beginning of the game, compared to $1,500 for each male player, USA Today reports. Women also receive $240 each time they pass 'Go' on the board, while men get $200.
Instead of buying up properties, Ms. Monopoly players collect inventions made by women, like WiFi (invented by Hedy Lamarr in the 1940s) and chocolate chip cookies (created by Ruth Graves Wakefield in the 1930s). The traditional playing pieces like a battleship and race car have been swapped for new tokens including a notebook and pen, a jet and a watch.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women earn just 81% of what their male counterparts make. The gap is larger for women of color, as Black and Hispanic women earn 65% and 63%, respectively, of what white men earn. And the wage gap has a lifelong impact on women's wealth. One study found that a woman's best route to the top 1% income bracket is to marry a rich man, rather than through her own career.
Despite what the data shows, not everyone is on board with working to close the wage gap: nearly half of American men think the gap is isn't event real. Hasbro aims to bring attention to this issue through Ms. Monopoly. "We want to recognize and celebrate the many contributions women have made to our society and continue to make on a daily basis," said Jen Boswinkel, senior director of global brand strategy and marketing at Hasbro, in a statement.
Monopoly was first introduced on a large scale in 1935 by Parker Brothers, whose company also created other iconic games like Risk and Trivial Pursuit. But it was actually a woman, Lizzie Phillips, who is widely credited with developing the game's basic premise in 1904, under the title "Landlord's Game." Since then, over 275 million Monopoly sets have been sold.
Ms. Monopoly will be available in mid-September for a suggested retail price of $19.99, according to Hasbro.
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