Coincidentally I received a phonecall yesterday afternoon from a friend of mine who had been overlooked at work again in favour of a much-younger, less-experienced white male colleague (she is neither white nor male). On the verge of tears, she told me that she couldn't stand it any longer. This is what sexism and racism feel like, every single day. Tim Hunt, I imagine, can't possibly know the burning shame of realising that you are being held back by your sex or your race. It is soul-draggingly awful. In an instant, when you experience it, you learn to empathise with the legions who went before you in history and suffered the same injustice. All you wish, then, is that your own children never have to feel the same.
Also by coincidence, the Association of British Science Writers released its report yesterday on sexism in science, based on a survey of its members (including myself). Please do read it, if only to see that things are far worse than you may think. Kudos to City University science journalism lecturer Connie St Louis, who both highlighted Tim's comments and was a driving force behind this report. She has supported me in my career (and I'm sure countless others), and is a perfect example of someone who is not afraid to call smart people out when they think stupid things.