Game Night Has A New Player: Ms. Monopoly

By: Amy Epstein Gluck

“It’s not fair!”

“He cheated! Mom, he’s cheating!”

“I’m not playing anymore.”

The above might be a common refrain in households everywhere (well, pre-Fortnite, Minecraft, etc.) as siblings attempted to best each other by amassing money and property in Hasbro’s iconic game, Monopoly.

But Hasbro created and recently announced a new game—Ms. Monopoly, which, thanks to my mom, I found out about on a timely basis. (Thanks, Mom!)

According to Hasbro, the dual intent of the game is to celebrate women trailblazers and start female players off with more money.

Monopoly v. Ms. Monopoly

As part of the old game, each player receives $200 from the bank at the onset. Players use their money to buy property, pay taxes, pay rent, and to get out of jail.  Every time a player passes “GO,” they collect another $200.

Now, in Ms. Monopoly, women collect $240 each time they pass “GO,” while male players still collect the usual $200. Hasbro does this intentionally in order to create a game where women make more than men.

And, players don’t buy houses or utilities. Rather, players are investors who buy inventions: WiFi, solar heating and other scientific advancements, and items like shapewear and chocolate chip cookies.

Players build business headquarters for start-ups instead of houses.

And the mascot? It’s not that little bespectacled, mustachioed dude you may remember. Rather, the board game sports a #boss in a blazer holding her coffee with enviably shaped eyebrows. Girlfriend looks smart and in charge.

monopoly-1973471_1920

Wait, This Isn’t Equal

No, it isn’t.

But.

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 males earn.

And, remember I told you about this BBC journalist who discovered that her male peers, including the male North America and Middle East editor, earned “at least 50 percent” more than she did.

According to Marketwatch, Ms. Monopoly also addresses how much less funding female entrepreneurs receive compared to males, with only 2.2% of venture capital in the U.S. going to female founders.

Remember, too, that women face other hurdles in the equal pay arena such as contending with wage penalties when they become mothers, especially if they take extended time off, i.e., being “mommy-tracked,” which we wrote about here.

Indeed, one Glassdoor study published in March 2016 found that women earned between 2 cents and 7 cents less for every dollar their direct male counterparts made in 25 major industries.

This new game reminds me of G.E.’s plan to level the playing field—we told you here that to even out the number of women in in STEM roles (STEM is science, technology, engineering, and math) and contemporaneously achieve complete gender parity in its technical entry-level programs, G.E. devised a plan focusing on retention, attrition, and raising women up into positions of leadership

Wait, wait, but how does Ms. Monopoly fit into the whole gender pay gap conversation?

Gender pay disparities in our workplaces remain a contentious issue. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (“EPA”) prohibits sex-based wage differentials for work requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility performed under the same or similar working conditions. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does too.

Yet, a pay gap based on gender persists, and the gap is wider for women of color and Hispanic women.

Can Ms. Monopoly resolve the pay gap issue? Unlikely. That would be a tall order, indeed.

However, it is certainly a novel take on an antiquated system.

Let’s appreciate the game for what it is, which, according to Hasbro, is “a fun new take on the game that creates a world where women have an advantage often enjoyed by men.”

About the Author:

Amy Epstein Gluck is FisherBroyles' Employment Counsel and a partner in the Washington D.C. office. She has represented individuals and corporate clients in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and various federal district courts for more than twenty years. Ms. Epstein Gluck’s current practice areas include employment law—advising on and drafting employment agreements; handling employment negotiations, severance agreements, noncompete and nondisclosure agreements, “wrongful terminations” and other EEO matters; representation at the EEOC level; advising employers about discrimination laws and how to remain in compliance, and employment negotiations. Email Amy at Amy Gluck@fisherbroyles.com