As a trans woman, I am delighted to celebrate International Women's Day with everyone today.
The theme of the 2021 campaign is 'Choose to Challenge', and as a trans woman, I challenge and get challenged more than most.
Being a trans woman is a privilege but can also be very challenging. I am very grateful that most women accept me as an equal. But sadly, there is a small but very vocal group in society that seek to exclude me and other trans women like me.
Various allegations are made about us in the right-wing and extremist "Christian" press - often suggesting that we are an ideology. We are NOT - we are biology.
We breathe, bleed and cry just like other women.
Allegations are made by transphobic extremists that we seek to erase women or are a danger to them, but why would we want to erase or hurt the very sex that we long aspired to be and love with all our heart?
Trans women challenge our sex assigned at birth; get challenged by family, friends, work colleagues, doctors and psychiatrists. Transition is challenging, and can include painful surgery which can take up to ten years to achieve.
But none of the challenges we face - stop us from believing what should have been our rightful sex.
It is a little-known fact that every human being on this earth starts their journey to life as a female. That the template for life is a female foetus ….. that adapts in those beautiful but challenging nine months of pregnancy to either stay female or become a male ….and then become straight, gay, non-binary or trans.
And this miracle baby is conceived, carried and given birth by a natal female.
Sadly, I was denied being able to give birth and denied girlhood. But that does not stop me from living as a woman and seeing and experiencing life as a woman.
And I see many challenges.
The challenge of patriarchy and sexism.
That women are not treated as equals in the workplace.
Not given equal pay for equal work.
Not given the same opportunity of promotion and most importantly, not given an equal seat in government, where at this time in Boris Johnson's cabinet twenty men are ministers, but only six women.
As a feminist, I must and always challenge that.
I challenge that women cannot do an equal job to men. Time and time again we see that women are the equals of men - but are denied proper recognition for what is achieved.
And because of inequality as a feminist - a transgender feminist, I campaign.
I operate this website, engage and lobby on Twitter with the rich and powerful…. and I joined the Fawcett Society, the UK's leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women's rights.
Millicent Fawcett, along with Emiline Pankhurst and many other courageous women, challenged society for the right to vote. They suffered beatings, were force-fed in prison and - in the case of Emily Davison gave her life so that women could achieve equal voting rights.
But despite centuries of challenging, women have still not achieved full equality, so the challenging must go on.
So, today, on International Women's Day, while we can look back and be proud of what has been achieved, we must also challenge the outstanding issues.
You must challenge - I must challenge.
I challenge domestic violence, racism, sexism, homophobia and of course transphobia - I challenge any notion that a woman is not equal to a man.
And until we all achieve equality, I will go on challenging not just today.. but every day.
Have a great International Women's Day!
You can follow me on Twitter @PlaceSteph