Administrative Professionals' Day
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Administrative Professionals Day (also known as Secretaries Day or Admin Day) is an observance but not a public holiday in the United States, celebrated annually on the Wednesday during Administrative Professionals Week, the last full week of April. The secular holiday recognizes the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, and other administrative support professionals. Typically administrative professionals are given cards, flowers, chocolates, and lunches.
Observation by country
- In Hong Kong, it is celebrated annually on the Wednesday of the last full week of April.
- In Malaysia, Administrative Professionals Week is always held annually during the last full week in April. Administrative Professionals Day is always held the Wednesday of that week.
- In New Zealand, it is on the third Wednesday of April.
- In South Africa, it is celebrated annually on the first Wednesday of September.
- In Australia, it is celebrated annually on the first Friday of May.
- In United Kingdom, it is celebrated on Twitter recently.
- In Ireland, it is celebrated in the offices of top professional firms. The inaugural day for this celebration being 27 April 2016 in honour of Niamh O'Connor.
During World War II, there was a shortage of skilled administrative personnel in the United States due to Depression-era birth-rate decline and booming post-war business. The National Secretaries Association, founded in 1942, was formed to recognize the contributions of administrative personnel to the economy, support their personal development, and to help attract workers to the administrative field. Key figures who created the holiday were the president of the National Secretaries Association, Mary Barrett, president of Dictaphone Corporation, C. King Woodbridge, and public relations account executives at Young & Rubicam, Harry F. Klemfuss and Daren Ball.
The National Secretaries Association's name was changed to Professional Secretaries International in 1981 and to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) in 1998. Administrative Professionals Day is a registered trademark with registration number 2475334 (serial number 75/898930). The registrant is IAAP.
The official period of celebration was first proclaimed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Charles W. Sawyer as "National Secretaries Week", which was held June 1–7 in 1952 with Wednesday, June 4 designated as National Secretaries Day. The first Secretaries Day was sponsored by the National Secretaries Association with the support of corporate groups.
In 1955, the observance date of National Secretaries Week was moved to the last full week of April, with Wednesday now designated as Administrative Professionals Day. The name was changed to Professional Secretaries Week in 1981 and became Administrative Professionals Week in 2000 to encompass the expanding responsibilities and wide-ranging job titles of administrative support staff in the modern economy. The week-long observance was created in order to space out the bookings at restaurants, country clubs, and other places where administrative professionals would be taken out to lunch.
The holiday has been criticized for being patronizing to administrative professionals by separating the work they do from the rest of the office, and some feel the holiday highlights that the assistants are seen as mere "support staff" to others in the office, despite the opposite goal by the creators of the holiday. The holiday also creates confusion over who is recognized as an administrative professional, especially since the role has evolved and diversified since the 1950s, with other official titles often requiring more "administrative" duties than the "secretaries". This forces everyone in the office to evaluate how they stack up on Administrative Professionals Day—as Melonyce McAfee analogizes: "Are you low enough on the totem pole to merit a gift? Or are you too low?"
Other critics take an anti-consumerist stance and accuse the flower, card, and candy industries of inventing the holiday for convenient sales between Easter and Mother's Day. The typical gifts of flowers and cards also unintentionally mark the holiday and the administrative role as a gendered one, since these are typically feminine gifts.
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