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Teen invents playing cards that are gender-equal -- and diverse

In card games, you play the hand you're dealt. Maayan Segal wants that hand to be more diverse.At 16 years old, she's released the second iteration of...

Posted: Mar 28, 2021 9:37 AM

In card games, you play the hand you're dealt. Maayan Segal wants that hand to be more diverse.

At 16 years old, she's released the second iteration of her gender-equal playing card deck, Queeng -- this time, it embraces both diversity and gender equality.

In the first version of Queeng, which was released three years ago and sold over 50,000 decks, king and queen cards became equal. Two of the standard four jacks became princesses, and Segal designed a female joker.

But people spoke out, saying that Segal's cards weren't fully inclusive.

"Though we got a lot of great feedback, we also heard from some supporters that our cards were not actually totally equal," Segal wrote on her Indiegogo campaign page.

"I realized that a diversified representation of ethnicities wasn't there, like it doesn't exist. This doesn't actually represent the people of the world as we really are, and if we are going to give kids these cards to hold in their hands and play with, don't we want them to see an accurate depiction of the world?"

How the idea came to life

Segal first had the idea for Queeng while playing a card game with her family on vacation.

"Why is the queen card worth less than the king?" she asked her father.

The question stumped them both, and opened a bigger conversation about gender equality -- one that Segal's father didn't shy away from.

"When my daughter began to have questions about not only gender equality but also when we were playing card games as a family, the importance of educating young kids that men and women are equally powerful was apparent," Uri Segal, Maayan's father and co-founder of Queeng, said in a statement.

"Instead of brushing it off and explaining it was just a game, I knew that it was actually so much more than that and it would be impactful to create something that would accurately represent gender and racial equality."

The duo launched Queeng to this end, designing a deck that redistributed hierarchal value.

In Segal's deck, "Monarch" cards -- which can be male or female -- replace the value of former king cards. "Dutchess" or "Duke" cards replace queen cards, and "Prince" or "Princess" cards replace jack cards.

The cards embrace diversity

Segal took feedback from her supporters to launch Queeng Playing Cards 2.0, now not only gender-equal, but racially and ethnically diverse.

"We went back to the drawing board and started from scratch," Segal wrote. "We wanted to make a deck that truly represents our world and celebrates our beautiful range of cultures and appearances!"

The new deck includes hand-drawn cards that represent a range of skin tones and facial features, according to the statement.

Segal has also included both right- and left-handed decks in the project's newest edition, which, after five days from its release, had already sold over 4,000 decks.

Segal wrote on her Indiegogo campaign page that supporting Queeng's mission supports the idea that men and women, along with all races and ethnicities, are equal. Backers will also support a "kick-ass example of young entrepreneurship," she wrote.

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