Kathy Vos column mug

Hasbro, in true capitalistic style, came out with another way to make real money by rolling out another edition of its game about making fake money.

The classic board game, Monopoly, made its debut in the early 1900s and many other versions followed since. In 2019, the new Ms. Monopoly not only celebrates women entrepreneurs and inventors, but the female players are paid more than men.

Unfortunately, though, games are based partly on make-believe. Women in the real world still earn just 81% of what their male counterparts make, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The gap is larger for women of color at 65% for black and 63% for Hispanic women.

So Hasbro’s pay angle may be touted by the company as “a fun spin” that “creates a world where women have an advantage often enjoyed by men,” but pay gaps are not very fun in the real world.

It’s just a matter of time before Ms. Monopoly ends up in The Game of Life and someone mistakes her for her boss’ secretary.

Even under that cloud of reality, Hasbro deserves applause for what it’s trying to do.

“We want to recognize and celebrate the many contributions women have made to our society and continue to make on a daily basis,” said a statement from Jen Boswinkel, senior director of global brand strategy and marketing at Hasbro.

A goal, she said, is to prompt discussions about structural discrimination during family game night.

Not sure what her family game nights are like, but during ours most the discussion revolves around whether you answered before the timer went off and whose turn it is to refill the chips and chocolate bowls.

Educating through games is a smart strategy, however, just like playing lots of Scrabble can help expand vocabulary. But with the slow progress of pay equity over multiple decades, game developers at Hasbro know Ms. Monopoly won’t become reality anytime soon.

In the meantime, other games could be reconfigured to capture the female market or at least entice women to play them more.

You could offer a version of Jenga where all the women who play don’t have to clean up any of the knocked-down pieces.

Or Operation where the women get to order around a male assistant, impatiently demanding instruments needed for wrenched ankle removal.

And there could be Mystery Date where all of the potential dates aren’t cliché stereotypes, plus they look you in the eye when they talk, as well as listen for the answers after asking questions.

So many possibilities, such opportunities to make more than Monopoly money — as long as the proposals are submitted under a male pseudonym.

Kathy Vos is news editor and can be reached at kvos@mankatofreepress.com.

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