It's simply incredible to see women being celebrated for their achievements rather than their bodies, providing girls with real role models. Ava DuVernay is one such icon of this movement, notably appearing in the 2016 Pirelli calendar alongside such greats as Serena Williams and Kathleen Kennedy. And now she has her own Barbie doll, so even children can learn of her talents.

Ava DuVernayAva DuVernay now has her own Barbie doll

If you didn't already know Ava DuVernay is the director of the Oscar winning 2014 drama 'Selma'; a Martin Luther King biopic exploring his campaign to open up equal voting rights for black citizens. It's an important issue, and a breakthrough for feminism as well as race related issues. Only 7% of film directors are women; a shocking figure given that some of the greatest movies in history had a lady at the helm.

More: Read our review of 'Selma'

1. Sofia Coppola is the multi-talented writer and director of the Academy Award winning travel drama 'Lost In Translation'; a layered piece of cinema about a complex relationship. Without doubt she shares the talent of her father, 'The Godfather' director Francis Ford Coppola. She has also been at the helm of another Oscar winner, 'Marie Antoinette'.

Sofia CoppolaSofia Coppola takes after her father

2. Still, women aren't forced into a niche of tender love stories. There are some filmmakers that prove you don't have to be male to direct a visceral modern war thriller. 2008 6-time Oscar winner 'The Hurt Locker' was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who subsequently went on to direct the thematically similar 'Zero Dark Thirty'. She was also at the helm of the original 'Point Break' starring Keanu Reeves, which has, alas, been adapted for a re-make by a male filmmaker.

3. That doesn't mean to say women can't also tell a good love story. The world lost an incredible talent when Nora Ephron passed away in 2012; the woman the brought us those much-loved Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan rom-coms, 'Sleepless In Seattle' and 'You've Got Mail'. She also wrote the screenplay for 'When Harry Met Sally', also starring Meg Ryan.

Nora EphronNora Ephron is a rom-com legend

4. She's best known for the erotic book-to-film thriller 'Fifty Shades of Grey', which was a box office sensation even if it was dismissed by many critics, but Sam Taylor-Johnson achieved her first success with 2009's BAFTA nominated 'Nowhere Boy'. It was a film based on the adolescence of John Lennon and starred her now-husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

5. Another romance, but not one to be sniffed at. 1993 hit 'The Piano' was directed by Jane Campion and is possibly one of the most haunting tales of love and passion that's ever seen the big screen. It landed no less than three Academy Awards and also served as the acting debut of Anna Paquin.

6. Gurinder Chadha blurred the lines between genders and between cultures with the Golden Globe nominated comedy drama 'Bend It Like Beckham' about two girls desperate to play professional football. The movie is such a family favourite, that's it's no wonder a stage musical version opened in London earlier this year.

Gurinder ChadhaGurinder Chadha brought race and gender issues together

7. Another Indian talent is the twice BAFTA nominated Mira Nair who did the wedding comedy 'Monsoon Wedding' in 2001, as well as 2004's 'Vanity Fair' starring Reese Witherspoon. Plus, there's the Oscar named Hindi hit 'Salaam Bombay!' which became a worldwide sensation upon its release in the late 80s.

8. Taking us back to that idea of women directing hard-hitting, violent 'man' films, some people may be surprised to learn that it was Lexi Alexander who directed the ultimate football hooligan thriller 'Green Street' starring Elijah Wood and Charlie Hunnam. After witnessing the brutalities of that movie, it's no wonder she also went on to do Marvel movie 'Punisher: War Zone' in 2008.

9. Before 'The Hunger Games' hit the big screen, there was vampire fantasy 'Twilight' featuring the couple of yonder years Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart. While the franchise was soon taken over by a string of male directors, Catherine Hardwicke helmed the original movie to dazzling effect. She also did the brutal re-telling of 'Red Riding Hood' starring Amanda Seyfried.