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Lady Bond wanted: Middle-aged women as UK spooks

The name’s Bond, Mrs. Jane Bond. There are quite a few “Jane Bonds” in Britain’s three intelligence agencies, but a parliamentary committee that oversees their work wants them to recruit ‘women or mothers in middle-age or mid-career’ to increase diversity in the workforce.

world Updated: Mar 07, 2015 23:30 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times

The name’s Bond, Mrs. Jane Bond.

There are quite a few “Jane Bonds” in Britain’s three intelligence agencies, but a parliamentary committee that oversees their work wants them to recruit ‘women or mothers in middle-age or mid-career’ to increase diversity in the workforce.

In a new report titled ‘Women in the UK Intelligence Community’, the Intelligence and Security Committee of parliament said the agencies should explore groups other graduates while recruiting.

The three intelligence and security agencies – the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and MI5 – employ over 12,000 men and women. The report says 37 per cent of them are women. The committee says, “Women or mothers in middle-age or mid-career, who may have taken some years out to bring up children, may offer an untapped recruitment pool. The Agencies should use a broad range of mediums to advertise, including those specifically for women and mothers such as Mumsnet”.

Presented by Labour MP Hazel Blears, the report wants the agencies to use women role models in recruitment processes, and calls for deploying more women in operational roles.

“It is such a sad waste of talent to sideline women who have successfully been filling operational roles. Just because they have had children, for instance, does not mean that their future career lies solely in corporate roles. They have first class skills that the Agencies have helped them to build, so use them,” the report says.

First Published: Mar 07, 2015 23:24 IST