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Are You Sexist At Workplace? Because many times you are and you wouldn't even realize.

By Meera Kaul

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You could be a feminist in your other avatars, yet deep rooted unconscious bias could be a part of your psyche. You could be sexist at your workplace and you don't even know it. Here's a checklist:

Hey baby!

Comes easy to you? Are you in a habit of calling women at work baby, darling, or honey? You need to stop. Seriously. The general accord is to try and keep away from using words such as honey, love, or babe while at work since it can either be seen as a power play or as acting too informal. Women who are not your lovers, in an intimate relationship with you, or not in your sorority are not to be called by intimate names.

You are not like any other woman I know

This is really not a compliment to that woman. There's a slight chance that you could just mean that the woman is a character and that you have never met anyone like that woman before. This also means that you are of the view that for a woman to be unlike most girls is a compliment and that you probably don't have a high opinion of most girls.

Listen to me

Sit through an entire work meeting and count the number of times women in the group get interrupted without getting the chance to complete a sentence or put together an argument. Are you one of the people who interrupt these women? If yes, you are sexist. A considerate person will keep this in mind when talking to a woman and try to counteract it by asking questions and waiting until she is done to start talking. You should feel as if what you have to say is as important as the other person.

Balance home and work

Do you catch yourself asking women at your workplace how they are managing pressures of work and child care? This, of course, is never (or very rarely) asked of a man. It is simply assumed, with underlying sexism, that women should be having kids and raising a family, and if they are not, then there is a problem.

It's okay to touch

It is not. Just because you spend time at work with women at work doesn't mean it's okay to touch them. It's pretty forthright. As a man, you ask verbally. There must be clear consent. And even if a woman does give verbal consent to touch her -- say, give her a hug or put your arm around her shoulder -- it doesn't mean this acquiescence lasts incessantly. Without consent, you are encroaching on another person's intimate space which is harassment. Men like to show domination over women, feeling entitled to touch in the guise of being friendly is sexist.

Meera Kaul

Founder, The Meera Kaul Foundation

Over the last two decades of her career, Meera Kaul has incubated, financed and promoted technology enabled ventures in US, Europe and the emerging markets of Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Meera has the unique experience of being a serial entrepreneur and an angel investor, along with the exposure of having worked in venture capital and private equity domains. She continues to be involved with several startups the world over as an investor, or in an advisory role and holds a striking track record of four multi-million dollar exits. Meera is also an investor in several Silicon Valley startups, the founder of technology publications and sits on the board of various cutting-edge hi-tech ventures globally.

A committed philanthropist, Meera is also the founder of The Meera Kaul Foundation, a not-for-profit that works towards addressing gender bias in workplaces and empowering women through skills training and capacity building.

Besides being an accomplished technology geek, Meera has a degree in International Taxation and Financial Law from TJSL, and is also an alumni of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

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