As anyone who's ever played a competitive family game of Monopoly knows, there's nothing more likely to get people riled up about unfairness. But now a different version of the game is leveraging this idea to get children's attention about injustice and inequality in the real world.
French nonprofit the Observatory of Inequalities and agency Herezie have created a toolkit extension that adjusts the popular Hasbro board game to include various aspects of real-life inequality. For example, girls earn less than boys by going through square one, some players start the game with a heritage of houses positioned on the board and others are limited to playing only with one dice.
Unlike traditional play, players are not treated equally. Everyone puts themselves in the shoes of a character, dealt out at the start of the game, and discovers, through the rules and “event” cards, injustices that may or may not apply to them.
Herezie created the toolkit following an initial video it made in 2017 for the organization. It showed kids playing a "social board game" adapting the rules of Monopoly. The idea is for the toolkit to be used in schools for kids over 11, as part of a workshop with a facilitator to explain the various injustices that occur, but it's also available for anyone to buy at the website.
The kit has been approved by Hasbro and is also endorsed by the French government.
"The initiative is fantastic for the simple reason that you can tackle extremely serious and important topics in a playful way and in a way that makes young people want to take an interest in the issue,” said Elisabeth Moreno, the French minister responsible for Equality between Women and Men, Diversity and Equal Opportunities, in a statement.