Laura Youngson: Climbing Towards an Equal Playing Field
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Back in 2017 while sitting on the couch and watching sports news coverage, Laura noticed the dismal amount of time dedicated to women’s sports. What struck her the most was “the fact that there are more stories about horses than women in the sports pages”. Being a proficient soccer player herself and experiencing the frustrations of minimal coverage and a general lack of opportunities, she decided to do something about it.
A quick Google Maps search and a few emails later, Laura devised a plan to elevate women’s sports higher than it has ever gone, literally. The idea was to gather a group of women to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and play an official game of soccer near the summit.
The journey became a gathering of 60 women from around the world with referees, goals, etc. all climbing above 18,000 ft. to play a soccer game. Their efforts stand as a Guinness World Record, a testament to their dedication to raising the coverage and opportunity for women in sports, and was the genesis of Equal Playing Field, a non-profit Laura co-founded.
After the success of climbing Kilimanjaro, Laura continued to chase Guinness World Record soccer matches to raise awareness for women in sports and show the world women can do anything. The lowest elevation soccer game was played at the Dead Sea in 2018, and two world records were achieved in France thereafter for the most nationalities represented in a soccer game.
The long-term action Laura has taken is through her startup, Ida Sports, which is aiming to create a soccer boot specific to women, something that has never been done successfully, but something needed due to fundamental differences in men's and women’s feet.
If you learn anything from Laura, it’s that you shouldn’t be afraid of going down a path no one has ever gone before, especially if a better world is on the other side.
To learn More about Laura and her work:
All images taken from Idasports.co and equalplayingfield.com