Licence to skill
The name’s Bond. Jane Bond. If you think we have got our 007 facts mixed up, let us assure you that ‘M’ will soon have to handle a woman super sleuth because MI5, the British security service, is using all its skills to recruit more women. In an unusual initiative, the service has placed ads in women’s changing rooms in health clubs to attract those for whom the world’s not enough. The applicants will face a barrage of tests to weed out those not fit to wield the golden gun. It will set aside the ‘dreamers and no-hopers’, a category strictly comprising worshippers of all things Bond: be it the man himself, or the Rolex Submariner he sports or the shooting cigarette.
This new move will definitely horrify large sections of the faithful. And we are not talking of a certain lieutenant in the Royal Navy known as Miss Moneypenny. But, spy history shows that the real life Jane Bonds, like the legendary Mata Hari, or India-born British spy Noor Inayat Khan, were as good as any man. In fact, Miss Moneypenny was based on two women who worked with Bond creator Ian Fleming.
But the main problem in this script is that while women make up around 47 per cent of all employees at MI5, they account for only 38 per cent of new applicants. This, in effect, means that there are not many takers for Her Majesty’s Service. So does that mean the Bond effect is waning? Or, after they join, will they end up much like the Bond girls in the movies: eye candy who might subscribe to the motto ‘diamonds are forever’ but are nothing more than accessories?