In 1956, Tunisia gained its independence. That same year, on August 13, women gained their basic rights as the country brought forth personal status laws, changing the arena for women's rights in the country.

Since then, Tunisia has been considered a pioneer of women's rights in the Arab world, and a number of decisions over the years have justified that title.

In honor of National Women's Day in Tunisia, here's a look at a few of them:

1. The country's personal status code is considered "one of the most progressive" in the region

The country's Personal Status Code - which came into effect in 1956 under Tunisia's first president, Habib Bourguiba - is considered to be one of the most progressive in the region.

Under it, polygamy was outlawed and a woman's consent became a pre-requisite for marriage. The law also established a judicial procedure for divorce. 

The code also gave women the right "to vote and to be elected to parliament, to earn equal wages to men and to divorce."

However, there remains the issue of inheritance laws in Tunisia, in which women inherit half of what their brothers receive, according to Islamic law.

Tunisia's president, Beji Caed Essibsi, has called for various amendments to the current legislation, including those governing women's inheritance.  

"The state is committed to achieving full equality between women and men ... and equal opportunities for them in assuming all responsibilities, as stipulated in Article 46 of the Constitution," Essibsi said, according to Middle East Monitor. 

2. A "landmark" law was passed in an attempt to end "all violence against women"

In July 2017, Tunisia passed a "landmark" law to end all violence against women. 

The country's parliament passed a bill that protects women from violence in what Human Rights Watch (HRW) described at the time as a "landmark step for women's rights."

The new law introduces new criminal provisions and increases penalties for various forms of violence, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women.

The law recognizes "physical, moral and sexual violence" and includes the necessary measures women need in order to seek protection from acts of violence. 

3. Including a law that criminalizes rapists

Source: YouTube

The 2017 "landmark" law amendments also put an end to the marry-the-rapist law in Tunisia, which previously allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims.

In 2016, Tunisia was put under the spotlight after a TV host ordered that Hajar, a girl who has been sexually abused by three different members of her family since she was 14-years-old, marry her rapist.

Appearing on Tunisian talk show Andi Mankolek (I’ve Got Something to Tell You,) the presenter chastised Hajar for getting pregnant out of wedlock, and advised her to "marry" her rapist as the solution.

4. A decades-old ban, which prohibited Tunisian women from marrying non-Muslim men, was lifted

In September 2017, Tunisia lifted a decades-old ban that prohibited Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men without the latter converting to Islam.

The 1973 law previously obliged men to convert to Islam before marrying a Tunisian women.

"All articles pertaining to the ban on Tunisian women from marrying non-Muslims have been revoked. In clearer terms, [the ban includes] the 1973 decree and all similar texts," spokeswoman for the president’s office, Saida Garrach, wrote on Facebook at the time.

"Congratulations to the women of Tunisia for the consecration of the right to freely choose one's spouse," she added.

Despite changes in legislation, many have reported difficulties in recent months when attempting to marry non-Muslim counterparts.

5. Tunisia has the highest female representation in parliament in the Arab world

In 2016, Tunisia passed a "vertical gender parity" bill in an attempt to increase female representation in parliament. 

The new law made it mandatory for all parties or blocks to put forward an equal number of male and female list candidates. 

As of 2017, 73 women MPs held seats in the country's parliament - the highest female representation in any Arab country - an increase from 68 in 2016, and their representation doesn't stop at the political sphere. 

"Women represent 60 percent of those working in the medical sector, 35 percent in engineering, 41 percent in the judiciary, 43 percent in law and 60 percent in higher education. Additionally, civil society is primarily based on the participation of women," Tunisian President, Beji Caed Essibsi, said.

In 2017, the average number of women in parliament in Tunisia (33.6 percent) topped that of Germany (30.9 percent.)