Stop The Party introduces new rules from the game of life

A week ahead of International Women’s Day, Stop The Party has released its latest campaign reminding people that the game of life has different rules for women and men.

The small group of women, who all work in Canadian advertising, started Stop The Party in 2021 to raise awareness about the wage gap between men and women across the economy, and encourage real action to close it. Women in Canada make about 71 cents for every $1 earned by men in Canada; over a 40-year career, women are effectively paid for 10 fewer years than men.

To help spread that message this year, Stop The Party created The Game of Life: Wage Gap Edition which is just like the real Game of Life board game but with rules and playing cards that more accurately reflect the real world “rules” for women that make it harder for them to win. When players collect their salary and bonuses using a more realistic pay grid, for example, if the salary card says $120,000, the woman collects only $90,000.

If players land on the “Grow your family?” space, women players pay the “Mommy Tax” (because they are perceived to be less committed to their career), so they skip the next two paydays, while men collect the “Daddy Bonus” (because they are perceived as family men who need to support their family), so they get an extra $10,000 in salary.

Stop The Party also made more realistic Action Cards for the game, like: “Your company approves hybrid working.” If men draw that card, they collect $10,000 because they no longer have to commute. But women continue the school pick-up and drop-off. “You’re perceived as not dedicated, skip the next Bonus Salary.”

“Can something be fun and borderline depressing at the same time?” said Kate Qually, creative director and one of Stop the Party’s founding members. “You betcha. But we loved the idea of leveraging popular culture as a way to engage people in a meaningful conversation about the wage gap.”

Stop The Party launches its campaigns around International Women’s Day because while there is much to celebrate about the accomplishments of women, the pay gap is decidedly not one of them.

Along with the awareness efforts, Stop The Party created a pledge to take real action to reduce the wage gap; there’s one for companies to sign, and one for individual actions.

“The pledge works the same as it has in previous years, where companies can publicly show their commitment to equal pay by taking the pledge and working through the steps, and individuals can take the pledge to help advocate for change at a personal level,” Erika Maginn, another of the co-founders, told The Message. Companies who sign the pledge this year will get their own The Game of Life: Wage Gap Edition supplementary pack, while the new rules and playing cards can also be downloaded for free at

“While we’ve had participants from wide-ranging sectors, the biggest support we’ve seen is from our own industry [advertising, communications, production and related companies] stepping up and taking the pledge,” she said. “We’ve found it personally and professionally rewarding to see that Stop The Party is resonating within our own community.” Along with Qually and Maginn, Stop The Party includes Ashleigh McEwan, Jenna Huckle, Crystal Lee and Lindsay Stanford.

David Brown