False fingerprints, invisible cars and jet packs are all in James Bond's repertoire of spy-enhancing devices, courtesy of the inventive head of gadgets, Q. Most recently played by Ben Whishaw; John Cleese, Peter Burton and Desmond Llewelyn have also taken up the role, cementing Q’s public identity as a man. Turns out this isn’t true.
In his keynote speech at the Women in IT Awards the head of the secret service, Alex Younger, revealed the real-life Q to be female. In a bid to encourage more women to join MI6, Younger said, “If any of you would like to join us, the real-life Q is looking forward to meeting you and I’m pleased to report that the real-life Q is a woman.”
“The more different people you have in the room, in these high-pressure circumstances in which we operate, the better the decisions,” said Younger. “So success for me is a deeper, broader range of technological skills in MI6 and more diversity, in particular more women.”
Q’s true identity will likely always be kept secret, and for good reason. But knowing there’s a woman in the top seat might just encourage others to offer their technological smarts too.