Ms. Monopoly is here. Psst: A woman invented the game in the first placeBreaking News
tags: pop culture, capitalism, games, womens history, Monopoly
Toymaker Hasbro Inc. on Tuesday announced the launch of Ms. Monopoly, a modernized reboot of its iconic money-making board game meant to celebrate female trailblazers and create a world where women make more money than men. It also brings to mind a little-known fact about Monopoly, though Hasbro didn’t mention it: A woman invented the game more than a century ago.
The Monopoly game was the brainchild of a woman named Lizzie Magie at the turn of the 20th century.
According to the 2015 book “The Monopolists,” which chronicled the storied history of the iconic American game, Magie was an ardent feminist stuck in a low-wage stenography job. She created what she called the Landlord’s Game to propagate the ideas of Henry George, a 19th century proponent of “single tax theory,” who believed that land ownership was the only thing that should be taxed.
Her game shared many features with Monopoly as we know it, including play money, properties that could be bought and sold, and a “Go to Jail” directive (all of which also exist in Ms. Monopoly). When Magie received a patent for her Landlord’s Game in 1904, “less than 1% of all patents issued in the United States went to women,” according to “The Monopolists.”
Decades later, unemployed salesman Charles Darrow learned the game from friends, repackaged it and, in 1935, sold it as his own creation.
Hasbro made no mention of Magie in its Tuesday news release and did little to explain her omission when pressed by the Los Angeles Times.