Ms. Monopoly: Hasbro addresses pay equity, fails miserably

The monocled Monopoly man is out. Ms. Monopoly is in. Gamemaker giant Hasbro is weighing in on the gender pay equity issue with a brand new version of its classic game Monopoly. Called Ms. Monopoly, the game mascot is meant to deliver a solid message of female empowerment and encourage entrepreneurialism.

This new version features Mr. Monopoly’s niece, a self-made investment guru. A video distributed by Hasbro introduces three teenage girls who are working on inventions – 16-year-old Ava in Ireland who is working on an invention to detect harmful dyes in soft drinks, 13-year-old Gitanjali is working on detecting lead in water, and 16-year-old Sophia is working on an invention to detect sinkholes before they collapse. Hasbro sends a first edition Ms. Monopoly game to each of them and when they open their gifts, they find a personalized letter from the company and also $20,580 in cash. The cash, as explained in the letter, is to “help bring their inventions to life.”

There is nothing wrong with encouraging and celebrating school girls with an interest in science and an entrepreneurial spirit. Where Hasbro goes wrong with this game, though, is that women make more than men. This brings fighting the patriarchy into a new light. Women speaking up for equal wages for equal work in real life do not fight for higher wages than men. The issue isn’t about punishing male co-workers. It’s about women having the same respect as men in the workplace. As a conservative woman, I disagree with the legislation pushed forward by Democrats in Congress because I think that women make less money at various points in their careers for other reasons than just gender-based discrimination, but that’s a different matter.

Rich Uncle Pennybags has willed his empire to his niece, Ms. Monopoly, in Hasbro’s latest iteration of it’s iconic board game, where women entrepreneurs and inventors are not only celebrated, they are paid more than men.

“The first game where women make more than men,” reads the bottom of the new Ms. Monopoly game, which for the first time in Monopoly history features a character other than Mr. Monopoly on the cover.

Ms. Monopoly wears a blazer. She holds a coffee. She stands with her hand on her popped hip.

In her world, the experiences of women, and their broad contributions to society, form the basis of the board game.

Women collect more, for example, when they pass “go”. The intention is to give women an advantage over men. This isn’t promoting equality, it’s creating a new affirmative action. The playing field is just tilted in the opposite direction.

Unlike the classic game, women will collect 240 Monopoly bucks when they pass “go,” while male players will collect the usual 200. The idea is to create a game where women make more than men, the first game to do so, according to Hasbro.

It’s “a fun new take on the game that creates a world where women have an advantage often enjoyed by men,” the company said in a statement. “But don’t worry, if men play their cards right, they can make more money too.”

That’s not the only difference, though. Instead of buying property, players will invest in inventions created by women — things like Wi-Fi and chocolate chip cookies. But no worries — mainstays such as jail, luxury taxes and chance cards are still included.

Hasbro has created novelty Monopoly versions in the past. I remember our family had a Star Wars version when our son was young. And in recent months has produced a Monopoly for Millennials version which made light of that generation’s stereotypes. Monopoly Socialism brought about interesting conversations. The intention was probably to give an opportunity for families to talk about women in the workplace. Hasbro botched the opportunity for a real discussion, though, to encourage girls to study, work for, and achieve their career goals. Doling out extra money based on gender discrimination is what brought about the hot button topic in the first place. A more substantive discussion would be of explanations of pay inequity as it relates to choices women make to raise families, for example, which directly affect earning capabilities.

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