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January 13, 2019

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New board game asks ‘Who’s She?’ to spotlight famous women in history

DID she win a Nobel Prize? Was she an inventor? Did she make a discovery?

These are some of the questions that Polish designer Zuzanna Kozerska-Girard wants more children to ask as they learn about famous women while playing her debut board game Who’s She?.

“We basically don’t know their stories. We don’t know enough about women who have done amazing stuff,” said Kozerska-Girard, founder of games company Playeress, in a Skype interview.

Similar to the classic game Guess Who?, two players are each given a biography card of a famous woman and must ask each other questions until her identity is answered correctly — be it French spy Josephine Baker or Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.

“The game is for girls as much as it is for boys. They need to see powerful women around them and see them as their heroes,” she said from Poland.

The game is being sold at a time when the achievements of women — from scientists, politicians, campaigners and artists — are increasingly being recognized online and in public spaces.

Featuring watercolor illustrations of 28 female icons, Kozerska said she designed the game, which costs 75 euros (US$86), because she wanted children to know that women of all nationalities were as capable as men in any profession.

“If you’re a girl who’s 3 years old and you see men everywhere in positions with more power, you’ll just think that that’s the way it is,” said Kozerska-Girard.

“I think it’s important to bring this (gender gap) up with kids — and the simple way to do this is by playing games.”

Since Who’s She? launched last November on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, Kozerska-Girard has sold more than 6,000 units and received some 500,000 euros to produce the game, which she hand-makes out of wood.

Volunteers are working to raise the profile of famous women — who make up only 17 percent of Wikipedia’s 1.5 million biographies, according to the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts the online encyclopaedia — by writing more female biographies.

In Britain, a statue of 19th century feminist Millicent Fawcett was unveiled last April in London’s Parliament Square, the first monument to honor a woman in a space previously occupied by 11 statues of men.

The statue was the result of a campaign by feminist Caroline Criado-Perez, who said there were more statues in Britain of men called John than statues of women. Excluding Queen Victoria, fewer than 3 percent of statues represented women, she said.

In August, a group of Belgian activists stuck up unofficial street names in the capital Brussels to commemorate women and also pushed for new public spaces to reflect their role — a phenomenon also seen in the Netherlands.


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