The 44-year-old filmmaker believes people appreciate authoritarian men but have negative things to say about women who have a strong hold.
"When we talk about sexism, you're always judged if you're a woman and you're in control. In the sense, she is rambling, she is bossy. I am not bossy, I am the boss. It's as simple as that, I don't want to do anything else, this is it," said Zoya.
"So you always get 'Oh he's really good at his job he knows what he wants' and 'she is bossy.' After a point, you create a rapport with people and you just laugh it off. But it's there," she added.
Zoya says there are certain male directors who even punish their assistants but people think that's the way to get the job done.
"I know male directors who hit their assistants, make them kneel down, punish them, be completely mental. The difference is, the way people look at it. I've been told to be a guy on sets. I asked what does that meant, they said that means you know what you want. It's that kind of sexism," said the director.
Zoya, who is the daughter of noted lyricist Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani, says her parents never differentiated between her and brother Farhan.
"I don't remember a day when I felt different from my brother because I was a girl. We are a year apart, we were treated the same. My first brush with sexism was when I went to college. My friend was not allowed to go out at night, even though her brother was with her because she was a girl. It shocked me. I couldn't understand it," she recalled.
The 'Dil Dhadakne Do' director was speaking during a panel discussion on 'Ladkiyan Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hain' moderated by actor-filmmaker Rahul Bose last evening.
Also present at the event were Olympic medallist, Sakshi Malik and Poorna Malavath, the youngest girl to scale Mount Everest.