PAMA Leads Pro Audio To Update Terminology

The goal is more-neutral language in ‘a spirit of inclusivity’

The Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance (PAMA), the trade organization of leading manufacturers of professional audio products and users, is working with members and other industry trade organizations to address outdated language and terminology issues increasingly identified as discouraging a spirit of inclusivity within the professional-audio community.

“The goal of this project is to introduce and create normalcy around neutral language in the audio industry,” said PAMA Inclusion Committee member Dawn Birr, global customer insights manager, pro audio, Sennheiser. “As we all strive for continuous improvement in our work, personal lives, and society, often it’s the small steps that get us to our goals. We hope that, by taking these actions, we can begin making meaningful change happen over time.”

To commence the process, PAMA circulated a survey throughout its member companies to gather feedback regarding problematic language (for example, master/slave in clocking references and male/female in reference to connector topology) and solicit input on alternate, more neutral terminology.

“The intent is for PAMA members to recommend adopting a framework within their organizations for the implementation of unified terminology across the industry, in the spirit of inclusivity and consistency,” explained PAMA Board Chair-Elect and Inclusion Committee member Karam Kaul, VP, global product line management, professional audio, Harman International. “It comes down to treating each other with respect. PAMA is working in collaboration with Audinate and a few other member organizations, using an Audinate framework as a starting point, with additional added elements, such as addressing the replacement of gender identification of connectors with the neutral designations plug/socket.”

The result is a list of suggested terms to replace current terminology, “PAMA Recommendations for Neutral Nomenclature in Pro Audio.” The dynamic document will evolve with ongoing input from the industry at large.

“PAMA member companies have committed to seeing this initiative through in their individual documentation and communication, thoughtfully applying these guidelines,” said Kaul.

Said Karrie Keyes, executive director, Soundgirls.Org, a women-in-audio advocacy group, and monitor engineer for Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder, “Shoutout to PAMA for introducing neutral language for the audio industry. This is a tremendous undertaking and is important to continue working toward meaningful changes in our industry.”


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