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Image: YouTube | Hasbro

Look out, Uncle Pennybags! Your startup-savvy niece, Ms. Monopoly, is poised and ready to help the next batch of female innovators conquer the classic game board.

Hasbro Inc. recently announced the launch of “Ms. Monopoly,” a female-focused, entrepreneurial-themed spinoff of its enduring board game.

In a poignant video, the toymaker unveiled a huge surprise for several real-life female teen inventors. Hasbro is giving them each a Monopoly-sized amount of real cash—to the tune of $20,580, which is the amount of “Monopoly” money in each game box—to fund their innovations and help them impact change.

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Following the Leader

The “Ms. Monopoly” teaser begins with a statistic: “Women hold just 10% of all patented inventions.” In today’s crowded technological landscape, this figure may strike some people as being surprisingly low.

Fortunately, women throughout history have inspired future female generations, like the lucky cash recipients in the “Ms. Monopoly” video, to follow in their groundbreaking footsteps.

For instance, in 1903 Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. She pioneered work on radioactivity, which eventually led to x-ray technology.

NASA executive JoAnn Morgan made history in 1969 as the first-ever (and only) female who witnessed Apollo 11 blast off from behind the console at the Johnson Space Center’s Mission Operations Control Room 2.

Currently, Silicon Valley boasts multiple examples of females commanding key leadership roles. Women like Google’s chief design scientist Cassie Kozyrkov, director of engineering at Slack, Arquay Harris, Vice President of Amazon Alexa Miriam Daniel, and Vice President & distinguished engineer at IBM, Anshu Kak, mark a few standouts.

The forward-thinking young ladies featured in Hasbro’s video are working on projects of their own. One is a device that detects lead in drinking water. Another is a gadget that helps identify the number of harmful dyes in soft drinks and sweets. Meanwhile, another invention detects sinkholes before they collapse.

Given time, focus, and financial resources, these ladies could also effect change in the future.

A Woman Invented the Monopoly Game

According to the Los Angeles Times, a woman named Elizabeth Magie originally created “Monopoly” in her 2015 book “The Monopolists.” However, Hasbro maintains that Charles Darrow invented it.

The toymaker doesn’t mention Magie in the “Ms. Monopoly” campaign. But the company did address her connection to “land-grabbing” games in a statement.

“The Monopoly game as we know it was invented by Charles Darrow, who sold his idea to Parker Brothers in 1935,” a Hasbro spokeswoman told The Times. “However, there have been a number of popular property-trading games throughout history. Elizabeth Magie — a writer, inventor, and feminist — was one of the pioneers of land-grabbing games. In 1904, she received a patent for the Landlord’s Game, which was meant to educate people about the dangers of wealth concentration.”

Closing the Gender Gap in Game Play

Regardless of who created the original version, Hasbro is flipping the script on its time-treasured Milburn Pennybags-led Monopoly game. The rollout of “Ms. Monopoly” follows heightened awareness of gender-biased business practices.

Pitchbook reported that last year, “companies founded solely by women garnered 2.3% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups.” Thankfully, that percentage is trending up.

However, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, in Q2 2019, women earned $814 or 81.4 percent of the weekly $1,000 median pay of men.

Today, women across the globe are raising their voices about these kinds of glaring inequalities. They are also demanding change. Hasbro is creatively raising awareness of these issues and openly aiming to make a difference with “Ms. Monopoly.”

The game notably celebrates female trailblazers and addresses gender wage gap issues. For instance, the box touts the slogan, “the first game where women make more than men.”

As such, female players earn $240 when they pass “Go,” whereas male players earn the traditional $200. Plus, females start the game with $1,900 of working “Monopoly” money and male players start with just $1,500.

“Ms. Monopoly celebrates everything from scientific advancements to everyday accessories — all created by women,” Hasbro said.

Supporting Future Female Innovators

Overall, the modern “Monopoly” reboot offers a fresh female focus.

Game spaces feature innovations created by women including Wi-Fi, solar heating, modern shapewear, and more. Instead of buying real estate and building hotels, players launch a business headquarters. Game tokens include a wristwatch, jet, goblet, free weight, and hard hat.

Given the broad-scale reach of their potentially game-changing endeavors, Hasbro’s newly funded female inventors are aiming to take their place in history behind the bold women who have gone before them. By fueling their dreams with “real-life” startup cash, the toy company is banking on a bright, female-fueled future.

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