Gender equality is often a much-talked about theme here at Davos. This year, the context was dispiriting, as the number of female CEOs in the list of 500 top US firms declined by 25%.

But much of the conversation was not about the challenges facing female business leaders, but rather about how to speak up for women everywhere and ensure that the fight for gender equality is a truly global one.

On the resilience of women

Rena Effendi, Photographer

“I come across women who have overcome unspeakable traumas but whose spirit remains strong. So when I am asked who is my role model, I think of these women. They are not known to the world, they are what we call ordinary women but their resilience and their spirit is something absolutely remarkable."

On the duty of feminists

Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada:

"There are many parts of the world where women suffer from extremely severe discrimination and repression, places where women legally are lesser than men. We feminists, even as we support women in our own countries, we also have an obligation to support the women around the world who suffer from much greater obstacles and oppression."

On rape as a weapon of war

Dr Denis Mukwege, gynaecologist and campaigner

"Silence is really a strong tool for rapists so they can go on destroying girls and women. If she [the victim] stays in silence, she can be raped again and again. And she can’t protect others."

On gender equality

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN

"I think we are witnessing a gigantic movement for gender equality, coming from the rank and file, from society".

On the power of social media

Chiara Tilesi, film producer

"I believe that all of us have the power to change the storytelling. We have the power through social media: we are the creator of content, we are the distributor by sharing, we are a critic by liking a post. So let’s pay attention to what we post, and let’s make sure that it’s no longer about gender but about individuals."

On optimism

Marin Alsop, conductor

"I'm optimistically pessimistic about things. That’s a healthy approach because that keeps one vigilant. If we take our foot of the gas pedal, even momentarily, the numbers decline."

On women in tech

Allen Blue, Co founder and Vice-President, Product, LinkedIn

"We rely more and more on machines to help us make good choices. Women need to be there to help machines make good choices."

On snowflakes

Laura Liswood, Secretary-General, Council of Women Leaders

"Women are like snowflakes, one alone may melt, but together we can stop the traffic."