Old, white, male, able-bodied - an open letter to the PDF Association

Dear PDF Association,

I'm sure you're doing the best you can to improve the PDF format. Unfortunately, sometimes the best isn't good enough. The over-representation of older, white North Americans and Central Europeans is the first thing I notice when I look at the people visible from the outside. This is particularly noticeable when you look at your events such as the PDF Days or Weeks in recent years.

This is particularly noticeable when it comes to PDF UA: This is actually supposed to be a standard for barrier-free PDFs. Now PDFs are about as accessible as stairs for wheelchair users, but that's another topic. What is interesting is that there hardly seem to be any disabled people on the UA committees. The same representatives of the providers of PDF UA tools have been representing the topic externally for over ten years. None of these people are disabled. One may have doubts as to whether the perspectives of disabled PDF users are of any great importance to them. In any case, they are not presented sufficiently.

Now I don't want to suggest to you that you are racist, misogynistic, anti-youth or anti-disabled. But if this is not so, then why is there a lack of appropriate people on the committees? And if they are there, why can't they be seen as speakers at the public events? Why are the same few people allowed to give lectures over and over again? Why aren't young startups with fresh ideas given a chance?

In short: Is the PDF Association a body to improve PDF or a promotional event for Adobe and other PDF tool manufacturers? From my point of view, you are currently the former. But I don't think it's too late to change that.

Best regards

Your Johanne 


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