The Real Life

The Real Life

Tiffany Favers, the first year coordinator for Mistletoe Residential College, organized a simulation of The Game of Life to teach students about the struggles that women face in the workforce.

Marques Winick, Contributing Reporter

All eyes in the room rested on Judy Chen, who squatted down to retrieve a giant orange inflatable six-sided die. Her foot rested on a blue sheet of paper with the number 58 scrawled upon it, signifying that she was two steps away from winning the game that she and 15 other Case Western Reserve University students had gathered to play on Oct. 9.

The dim light in the common room of House 4 in The Village at 115 was just bright enough to illuminate her as she leaned back, raised her arms above her head, and tossed the die into the air. This roll would determine if she won The Game of Life.

Tiffany Favers, the first year coordinator for Mistletoe Residential College, organized this game to teach students about the struggles that women face in the workforce. In celebration of Women in Leadership week at CWRU, she wanted to educate students, male and female, about real world issues that women would likely encounter. However, she also wanted to make it fun.

“This is what I like to call edu-tainment,” she said. “It’s educational but it’s entertainment, so we can pass off educational moments but make them as fun as possible.”

The rules were simple. Students rolled a die, and they advanced that many pieces of paper until they reached 60. The paths represented the workforce, with higher numbers symbolizing older-aged women. Depending on what number they landed on, students were either read a statistic about female discrimination in the workforce, presented with a difficult choice that a woman might have make at some point in her life – with their decision affecting how they navigated the rest of the game – or given a scenario that forced them to take steps backwards.

One student was told that her child was injured in a car accident and that she had to take a couple of steps back to simulate the financial strain of paying for medical care. Another had to choose whether or not to have a baby. After deciding to have a child, she was placed on a separate path that she had to complete before reentering the “workforce.” A third student had a look of pure astonishment on her face as she was told that women on average make 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes.

“This is so depressing,” one female student said, amazed at how many of the scenarios and statistics were negative. Favers, however, chose the information with a purpose.

“[The game] is not necessarily to be a downer, because sometimes it seems that way, but it’s about what’s really going to happen in the next stage of your life,” she said. “These are legitimate struggles that people have been fighting for a long time.”

Favers said she hoped that the game would inspire students to not only reflect, but to act.

“When I see people’s faces of, ‘What? That’s happening?’ I feel encouraged by that, because now that you know, you’ll start to do something that’ll hopefully change it too,” she said.

As the game concluded, the students watched as the die came to a stop and displayed a three. Judy Chen and her group had won. After a short celebration and a recap with Favers, she left the building with her friends. Together, they walked out of The Game of Life and into the real one.