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New Inclusivity Initiative Seeks to Eliminate Audio Terms Like “Master / Slave”

| July 8, 2021

The Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance is spearheading the push to eradicate old nomenclature and promote inclusivity.

“Master / Slave” and “Male / Female” are terms that those in the pro audio industry are undoubtedly familiar with. The former refers to a communication protocol in which one device controls information (the Master) and another follows its direction (the Slave). “Male” and “Female,” on the other hand, are common terms for the topology of connectors of many kinds, referencing biological anatomy in relation to the shapes of certain cables and other apparatuses.

But a new initiative by the Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance (PAMA) seeks to make that type of terminology obsolete. PAMA’s members include some of the most recognizable names in pro audio technology, such as Shure, Sennheiser, and Audio-Technica, all of whom back the “Neutral Nomenclature” initiative to change the dated terminology in favor of more inclusive language. 

PAMA shared a press release last week wherein the organization outlines its vision for those neutral terms to take precedence over their predecessors. For instance, “Master / Slave” would become “Primary / Secondary” and “Male / Female” would become “Plug / Socket.”

The “Plug” ends of audio jacks, formerly referred to as “Male.”

Members of PAMA’s Inclusion Committee—such as Sennheiser’s Dawn Birr and Karrie Keys, Executive Director of the women-in-audio advocacy group SoundGirls—have already shared their views on the importance of the initiative. 

“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,” said Birr. “We hope that by taking these actions we can begin making meaningful change happen over time.”

This is a tremendous undertaking and is important to continue working toward meaningful changes in our industry,” Keyes added.

You can learn more about PAMA’s Neutral Nomenclature initiative here

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