Hello and hi. Pictured above is Nancy Wake, in brief, she is a ‘Jane Bond’ (the female equivalent to James Bond). Do you know much about Nancy Wake? Well, today you might just learn something about her. You are welcome.
Nancy Grace Augusta Wake was born 30 August 1912 and died 7 August 2011. She served as a British Special Operations Executive * agent during the later part of WWII. In brief, our Nancy was a spy. Yes. Yes, she was. Wake became a leading figure in the maquis** groups of the French Resistance and was one of the Allies’ most decorated servicewomen of the war. Respect. After the fall of France in 1940, she became a courier for the French Resistance and later joined the escape network of Captain Ian Garrow. By 1943, Wake was the Gestapo’s most wanted person, with a 5million franc price on her head.
After reaching Britain, Wake joined the Special Operations Executive. Wow, not bad for a GIRL. Apparently she ran rings around the Nazi’s (the Nazi’s gave her the nickname, ‘The White Mouse’) and she even killed an SS sentry with her bare hands. Wake became one of Churchill’s most highly decorated special agents. And with her perfectly coiffed hair and red lipstick, Wake was the epitome of glamour. Yes. Yes, she was.
Of course, if you want to know more about Wake, feel free to educate yourself and do a bit of research about her. Please and thanks. Now for the crux of this post. Yes, finally. Ok, let’s do this.
The security service is currently in a bid to broaden their appeal- in terms of spies and are seeking to change the current image of spies as ‘male, pale and stale’ as reported in The Telegraph. Further, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) next month will launch a nationwide competition for girls aged 13-15, as part of a plan to recruit more female spies, dubbed ‘Jane Bonds’ to its ranks. According to The Telegraph, the initiative by GCHQ is the first of its kind to be set up by the eavesdropping agency. Further, the agency hopes it will attract thousands of teenage girls at school’s across the country.
Robert Hannigan, Director of GCHQ (read: Top Spy) added by saying “The CyberFirst Girls Competition allows teams of young women a glimpse of this exciting world and provides great opportunity to use new skills.” Hannigan ended by saying, “I work alongside some truly brilliant women who help protect the UK from all manner of online threats. My advice to all potential applicants would be to enjoy the experience.”
The Application Process
Teenage girls can sign up in groups of four (haha-no problem there, they walk about in packs of four anyway) and will be sent online tests and challenges in cyber security to complete on their school computers. These will include questions on:
- coding and
- cryptography [with each round becoming more and more complex]
The 10 teams with the highest scores will then be invited to a national final in London, where they will be given a complex cyber security threat to investigate. They will then present their findings to a panel of spy chiefs and the winning team will be awarded £1000. How terribly exciting!
A spokesman for GCHQ indicated that the aim of the competition was to find “the best and brightest candidates to protect the nation from future cyber attacks.” Great. Erm…not great. Does Head Spy, Hannigan really think that teenage girls are really the right people to do this? I don’t think he or GCHQ has thought this through. True, teenage girls know their way around social media but only when it comes to playing candy crush and posing for pout-trout selfies. Truth. I seriously doubt that GCHQ or Hannigan actually come into much contact with teenage girls. And if they do….well, let us hope there is nothing untoward about it.
Alan Smithers, head of the centre for education and employment at Buckingham University added: “Teenagers use sophisticated technology as an everyday part of their social life and so it is odd that girls shouldn’t think of using these skills in their future careers.” Erm…ok, I like cars and I know how to drive a car, but it does not make me a potentially fantastic Formula 1 driver. No. No, it does not.
Last year, the British intelligence agency said that they no longer insisted that new recruits have a university degree and instead favoured “emotional intelligence.” Wait. What? So, check it, do you really think I would be a good cardiologist if I only had a high school diploma and did not attend University or even medical school? I think you get the point I am trying to make here. Please tell me you do. Good grief. The world has apparently gone mad. That being said, I think it is a pretty cool opportunity for teenage girls to be given the opportunity to become ‘Jane Bond.’ That is all.
*British WWII organisation, officially formed by the Minister of Economic Warfare-Hugh Dalton, to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe, and later in occupied Southeast Asia, against the Axis powers and to aid the local resistance movements
** Were rural guerrilla bands of French Resistance fighters, called maquisards, during the Occupation of France in World War II