The Barbarella star, 77, was honoured for her impressive contribution to women's causes over the years, and during her acceptance speech, the actress called for more representation of females in the film industry, noting the medium serves as a huge influence to girls and women all over the world.

Fonda said, "This industry, our industry, is without doubt the most important cultural force in the world. It knows no boundaries... It's critical that women are at the heart of the international film industry, not just as glamorous icons but as creators, as artists, as decision makers, ensuring that the narrative - of not just half but 51 per cent of the world’s population - is fully represented.

"We women, we see things differently, we experience things differently, we express things differently, we just do. And if our stories, our truths are not respected on that big silver screen then the women in those dark theatres are going to risk feeling that they are not seen and that they don’t really matter that much. And the half of the world that is male will be robbed of half of reality."

In addition to Fonda, movie legend Olivia de Havilland, who did not attend the ceremony, and producer Megan Ellison were also recipients at the prizegiving.

The notably private Ellison made a rare speech at the event, as she was recognised as one of the most daring and cutting edge filmmakers in the business, producing movies such as Zero Dark Thirty, Her, Foxcatcher and American Hustle.

Fonda, de Haviland, and Ellison were the first recipients of the Women in Motion initiative, a programme created by Cannes organisers to celebrate women and their contributions to film.