From ArticleWorld

The most common sense of secretary is in reference to a person who assists a superior , usually in an office, function faster, better, and more efficiently. Secretaries perform basic administrative tasks, presentation, communication, scheduling, documenting, planning, and personal tasks for an individual or group of people. A secretary in this sense is often likely to be a woman. Other meanings of secretary refer to positions of considerably more power and authority institutionalized in the diplomatic corps, corporate structure, government and civil service, or clergy. Secretary is also used to refer to refer to a a fall-front desk.

Office secretaries

Until the invention of the typewriter in the 1880s, and all the social and economic changes that occurred around the same time, secretaries – then more commonly called clerks – were men who would carry out all important correspondence and a certain amount of bookkeeping. More women started to enter the workforce and given the sedentary, office-bound nature of these jobs, they were considered 'suitable'. During and after World War II, far more women came out to work. Often secretarial jobs were the only ones they could get, either because they did not have much education, or simply because these jobs were seen as not challenging and therefore manageable even by women. Women in these positions also made tea and coffee and received visitors, and so seen as part-assistant and part-hostess.

Today a secretary must be computer-savvy, be able to conduct some degree of PR, and have serious micro-management skills. An executive secretary who does all this in addition to the regular scheduling and typing tasks can make an extremely good income. Some assistant are called private secretary, a title usually indicative of the the social status of their employer.

Institutionalized positions

The position of Secretary is a powerful one in many cases. A Secretary can be a high-ranking civil servant or political appointee, such as the Permanent Secretary to a ministry, or Secretary of State. In corporations and clubs, a Secretary performs the function of monitor, and a Corporate Secretary is often a chartered accountant. In the diplomatic corps, First to Third Secretaries are mid-level career diplomats.