Where Are #BringBackOurGirls, #MeToo, and Women’s March Celebrities and Public Figures?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On International Women’s Day, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), the nation’s most impactful policy organization for women, launches a campaign blasting the reprehensible silence by the elected leaders, women’s organizations, celebrities, and other prominent public figures who once backed women’s rights and calling upon them to break their silence, #StandWithWomen, and join in demanding the release of Israeli hostages.

In the wake of the horrific genocidal attacks on Israeli women and girls by Hamas on October 7, 2023—which included premeditated murder, mass rape, and violent sexual assault, and the deliberate use of real-time documentation and broadcasting of these crimes as psychological warfare—women’s human rights have been grotesquely neglected.

IWF’s 30-second campaign video sheds light on the callous disregard for Israeli women by the White House, and prominent #BringBackOurGirls and #MeToo supporters. Meghan McCain, Tulsi Gabbard, Riley Gaines, Sage Steele, Qanta Ahmed, and Emily Austin, all admirable advocates for women’s rights around the world, appear in the video with a unified message to join them and #StandWithWomen on International Women’s Day by condemning the atrocities and extreme sexual violence committed against women and girls by Hamas, and calling for the release of those still held captive.

“Rape is not a just weapon of war. It’s a war crime. No matter what you think of the larger geopolitical implications of what’s happening in the Middle East, we should all be able to agree that the horrifying sexual assaults on women and girls are simply unacceptable and that there must be consequences for this grotesque violation of human rights,” said Heather R. Higgins, chairman of the board for Independent Women’s Forum.

IWF also sent a new letter to the White House’s Gender Policy Council, again asking for the White House to speak out forcefully and condemn Hamas’ weaponization of sexual violence and demand freedom for the hostages still being held and subjected to continued abuse. The letter writes in part “Continued silence signals apathy to this ongoing hostage problem and an indifference to the cause of women’s rights and equality.”

Joining IWF’s letter are colleagues from the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation (AHA) and the Muslim American Leadership (MALA).

Andrea Bottner, vice president of external relations at Independent Women’s Forum, said: “As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s make sure that all women are afforded basic human rights regardless of their race, religious identity or political affiliations. Sadly, too many so-called ‘advocates’ for women have forgotten this basic principle. Rape cannot be used as a weapon of war and those who don’t condemn this brutality should be held accountable.”

Bottner, who previously served in the U.S. Department of State as Director for the Office of International Women’s Issues, joined other allied women’s organizations this morning in ringing the Nasdaq Opening Bell in honor of International Women’s Day.

Photo credit: NASDAQ

IWF’s Center for Economic Opportunity, Education Freedom Center, Center for Energy and Conservation, and Independent Women’s Law Center work every day to secure safety, security, freedom, and equal opportunity for women. 
Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.