The restrictions imposed on women in the kingdom and the social pressure they encounter make it increasingly hard for many to reach for the stars. But, since compliance is not an option, many Saudi women have been changing the conversation and smashing the negative stereotypes surrounding them. 

They are overcoming social, political and legal barriers to achieve what many thought was impossible.  

Here are 8 Saudi women who are breaking the mold and making us proud:

1. Haifa al-Mansour, the first female Saudi filmmaker

Source: Wikipedia

The ban on cinemas in the kingdom did not stop Mansour from chasing her goals and becoming the first female Saudi director.  

Her feature debut Wadjda made its world premiere at the 2012 Venice Film Festival. It was the first full-length feature to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first-ever Saudi film to be submitted to the Oscars.  

The film was selected as the Saudi Arabian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, but unfortunately was not nominated. It did, however, earn a nomination for Best Foreign Film at the 2014 BAFTA Awards.

2. Raha Moharrak, the first female Saudi mountaineer

Source: Quest Arabia

In 2013, Moharrak became the first Saudi and the youngest Arab woman to climb Mount Everest. She was joined by Qatar's first man on Mount Everest, Mohammed Al Thani, and the first Palestinian, Raed Zidan. 

Moharrak had been mountain-climbing for only two years when she made it to the summit of the world's highest mountain.

"When I first decided to climb Everest, no one believed I could do it. But, I'm not the type that gives up easily," Moharrak said in a Lipton ad, adding that she is happy to be inspiring other women. 

According to CNN, Moharrak had a hard time convincing her father to give her his blessings to take on Everest. "You want to do what? Ah very interesting. Why don't you leave it until you get married?" she recalls him as saying.

But, he eventually came around and has been supporting her every step of the way.

3. Tamtam, a singer building a bridge between the Middle East and the West

The Saudi singer recently released a video clip of her newest song Hollywood No, filmed entirely on an iPhone ... yup, she is not your typical female Arab singer. 

Born and raised in Riyadh, Tamtam moved to Los Angeles as a teen and has been smashing stereotypes surrounding Saudi women.  

The singer is known for tackling social issues in her songs. She kick-started her career with a song called "Gender Game", in which she bravely addresses the various social challenges she has faced as a Saudi woman.  

Tamtam aims at changing the West's misconceptions surrounding Middle Eastern women. 

"I realize there are huge misconceptions between our two cultures and people,” she says on her website. "It is ironic that in a world where communication has become so easy, it’s still so hard to bridge the distance in our minds. I see my music and myself as that bridge between the Middle East and the West. Music is the only language everyone can speak." 

4. Khawla al-Khuraya, a ground-breaking physician

Al-Khuraya is the first woman to receive the King Abdulaziz Award for Excellence for her work in the field of cancer research, and for good reason. 

The physician and pathology professor was the first to identify the cancer-triggering FOSM1 gene in the human body, which prompts the formation of cancer cells. In doing so, she raised awareness on the importance of testing and taking precautionary health measures.

When she's not doing groundbreaking work at the King Faysal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, al-Khuraya fulfills her role a member of the Shura Council, Saudi Arabia’s highest consultative body.

5. Halah al-Hamrani, the kingdom's only female boxing trainer

As the only known Saudi female kickboxing and boxing trainer in the kingdom, Al-Hamrani challenges stereotypes in the male-dominated world of martial arts. 

Born and raised in Jeddah, AL-Hamrani studied Environmental Studies and minored in International Relations in the U.S. But, she could not find a job in her field when she returned to the kingdom.

She therefore decided work in sports, becoming a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

"'Fight Like a Girl' is not supposed to be a negative connotation, instead [it] should be something positive because with training, women can be just as strong as men, you can do it just the way they can and be proud of it too," she tells Arab News

6. Amy Roko, a stereotype-smashing vlogger

Based in Riyadh, the outspoken, creative and hilarious Vine star and Instagrammer smashes stereotypes surrounding Saudi women, especially those who wear the niqab. She has garnered well over one million followers on Instagram, using Amy Roko as an online pseudonym. 

She shares short comedy sketches showcasing her hilarious take on everyday experiences in the kingdom. Unfortunately, her work has faced backlash from the conservative community who think this is not how a Saudi/niqabi woman should act. 

Last year, Amy Roko was featured in the BBC's list of the world's 100 most inspirational and influential women who "bring you groundbreaking moments of defiance". 

"I don’t even care how society views me anymore. [...] I’m sick and tired of the image that views women as weak and fragile," she told AJ+.  

"I see women as powerful beings because they are. I’m not hating on men, but I’m trying to make my voice reach all these clueless young girls." 

7. Sarah Attar, the kingdom's only Olympic marathon runner

Saudi Arabia has only sent female athletes to the Olympics Games twice, in 2012 and 2016. Attar competed both times, making her the kingdom's only female two-time Olympian.

Attar competed in the  800 meter race at the London 2012 Olympics, when the kingdom sent female athletes to the Olympics for the first time. Despite being attacked with demeaning insults on social media and receiving minimal financial and media support, Attar decided to compete again in Rio 2016. She thus became the first Saudi to participate in an Olympic marathon.

8. Bayan Mahmoud Al-Zahran, the first female Saudi lawyer

In 2013, Al-Zahran became the first female attorney to be issued a license to practice law in the kingdom. A year later, she launched Saudi Arabia's first all-woman law firm and the first firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of Saudi women. The firm aims to help courts understand legal disputes from a female perspective. 

Prior to Al-Zahran's licensing, female law graduates in the kingdom were only allowed to serve as legal consultants. So, she trained as a legal consultant for three years, focusing on family disputes and domestic violence. 

Al-Zahran was included in Fortune magazine's 2015 list of the world's 50 greatest leaders.