One of the central and most fascinating aspects of James Bond movies are its gadgets that are brought to fruition by the ingenious mind of Agent Q, a rather cantankerous old man. However, it turns out that in real life, Q is a woman. Sir Alex Younger, head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, codenamed "C", made the revelation while speaking at the Women in IT awards.
Younger's comments reflected the agency's desire to recruit a more diverse workforce. "The real-life Q is looking forward to meeting you and I'm pleased to report that the real-life Q is a woman," Younger said, according to BBC reported.
During his speech, he said that he wanted to combat spy stereotypes brought about by movies and encourage more women to join the agency. The spy chief said that one of his priorities is to recruit talent, but "we've got to get over and see through the Bond thing". He added that the characters in movies propagate the stereotype that a "particular sort of person that will join MI6– whether they're really posh or going to Oxford".
Addressing the crowd, he noted, "The issue for me is that stands in the way of something that I regard as being so important, which is that we can reach into every community in Britain and make sure that we get the people that are the best regardless of their background."
Younger also acknowledged that Bond movies in some way boost MI6's image and help propagate the idea "that all of our opponents think there's an MI6 officer behind every bush and that we're 10,000 times larger than we actually are".
He went on to highlight the importance of recruiting a diverse workforce and said, "The more different people you have in the room, in these high-pressure circumstances in which we operate, the better the decisions."
"So, success for me is a deeper, broader range of technological skills in MI6 and more diversity, in particular more women," he added.