Thanks to movies, the image most people have when they think of high-tech spies and the scientists who make their gadgets is of older, middle-aged men. Alex Younger, chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, is hoping to fight that stereotype to encourage more women to join MI6—and he’s using James Bond’s technology expert Q to make the point.
It turns out that in real life Q isn’t a stuffy old man. Q is a woman.
As reported by the BBC, Younger made the revelation at the Women in IT awards on Wednesday. “The real-life Q is looking forward to meeting you, and I’m pleased to report that the real-life Q is a woman,” he said.
It turns out the spy stereotypes have hurt recruiting a diverse workforce, which according to Younger means applicants think there is a “particular sort of person that will join MI6—whether they’re posh or going to Oxford.”
Diversity helps create a space where a wide range of ideas and methods are available instead of creating a sense of groupthink. For MI6 to properly protect the country, they need members who understand the whole of the country—rather than just a segment of it, according to Younger.
Younger later added, “So, success for me is a deeper, broader range of technological skills in MI6 and more diversity, in particular, more women.”