MI6 Reveals This Real-Life James Bond Counterpart Is Actually A Badass Woman

Illustration by Norah Stone
It was just last week that the UK's intelligence agency, GCHQ, launched a competition to encourage more girls to consider a career in cyber security, and now there's more good news for girls and women hoping to break into intelligence.

The chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (aka MI6), Alex Younger, today revealed that the real-life inspiration for Q in the James Bond films is actually a woman, reported the BBC.

The character of Q has always been cast as a man in the films and has been played by Ben Whishaw since 2012's Skyfall.

There is a stereotype that MI6 spies are all "posh", middle class men, Younger said, adding that he wanted to boost diversity and recruit more women.

"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 yesterday at the Women in IT awards.

He said "we've got to get over and see through the Bond thing", and that the character makes people think of a "particular sort of person that will join MI6 - whether they're really posh or going to Oxford", the BBC reported.

Younger did admit that MI6 benefits in some ways from the Bond films. The franchise "means that all of our opponents think there's an MI6 officer behind every bush" and think the service is "10,000 times larger" than it actually is.

Speaking about the posh spy stereotype, he said: "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."

Having more diversity in MI6 would broaden the service's skill set and improve the its decision-making, Younger 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.

Indeed, research supports the theory that the presence of women can enhance outcomes. Companies with women on the board perform better after all, and involving women in peacebuilding increases the likelihood that violence will end by 24%.

We're plotting a career change, stat.
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