International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the progress women have made around the globe. It’s a day on which government leaders and women’s organizations always eagerly showcase their support for women. Yet many of these so-called advocates for women were sickeningly silent after the horrific attacks on women and children in Israel this past October 7. On International Women’s Day, they should be held to account.

UN Women, which is the United Nations organization for the advancement of women’s rights and equality, is celebrating International Women’s Day, promoting the theme “Investing in Women.” It claims that gender equality remains the world’s greatest human-rights challenge and that investing in women is a human-rights imperative. Yet after October 7, when innocent Israeli women were raped and murdered, it took UN Women several weeks to merely make a statement about the attacks — and even then, the group failed to specifically condemn the barbarity perpetrated against Israeli women and girls. This is unacceptable.

Shamefully, another arm of the United Nations, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), was shown to be tied to Hamas. Israeli intelligence alleged that a dozen employees of the U.N. agency actually participated in the October 7 attacks on Israel. The U.N. leadership broadly, including UN Women, has dragged its heels in condemning the heinous attacks. It took until this week for the U.N. to even issue a report on Hamas’s sexual violence. Is UNRWA’s alleged complicity the main reason why?

In honor of International Women’s Day, the U.S. State Department will bestow the International Women of Courage Award on women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in different countries around the world. During this year’s ceremony, Secretary of State Antony Blinken should reaffirm what he previously said about the attacks on October 7: “The atrocities that we saw on Oct. 7 are almost beyond human description or beyond our capacity to digest. And we’ve talked about them before. But the sexual violence that we saw on Oct. 7 is beyond anything that I’ve seen either.”

First ladies have often been on hand to celebrate the International Women of Courage Award at the State Department. In 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama attended the ceremony and stressed the importance of recognizing women and working together to uphold women’s rights. That same year, the militant organization Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls in Nigeria from a school. First Lady Obama posted an image of herself on social media with the hashtag “#BringBackOurGirls,” bringing immense attention and awareness to the problem.

Additionally, when Obama addressed the Young African Women Leaders Forum in South Africa in 2011, she said, “You can be the generation that stands up and says that violence against women in any form, in any place — including the home — especially the home — that isn’t just a women’s rights violation. It’s a human rights violation. And it has no place in any society.”

Yet since October 7, Mrs. Obama has made just one equivocating statement about the attacks that failed to specifically condemn Hamas for its brutality.

Why is it so hard for these leaders to stand up against such atrocities now? Why has Mrs. Obama chosen not to use her platform on behalf of the Israeli victims of sexual violence, including those who remain as Hamas’s hostages today?

On International Women’s Day, we must end this silence, stand up against sexual violence, and join the fight to bring back our Israeli women and girls.