The “Advisory Group” in my department was debating the make-up of a committee to formally review our Department. Such committeee are usually made up of very senior academics from the University as well as national and/or international externals. I kept on suggesting senior women I had served on high-level University committees with. None seemed acceptable. My Head of Department said things like “We should just get a committee of intelligent people”. (Subtext: no need to balance on gender or anything else). Senior colleague Y said, by e-mail, regarding the women I suggested “I would prefer person X over any of the women.” I blew up at this. Eventually Y said to me: “I am not anti women, I am just anti people I do not know.” I was so shocked by this that I did not reply. But it will bother me for the rest of my working life, I think – certainly while Y is still a colleague.