It is so easy to view the Arab Gulf states as uniquely soulless, artificial, despotic and ultimately illegitimate entities. Many assume, in stop-motion photography-style, that once the oil has stopped flowing the sky-scraping cities that have erupted out of the sand will just as quickly disintegrate back into the desert landscape.

On the morning of 16 December 2014, most Pakistanis woke to a damning reminder of the chequered record of the one institution that many call ‘Father’. That day is the anniversary of the loss of Pakistan’s eastern wing in 1971.

The exposure of alleged corruption in the AKP government by a leading Turkish newspaper, Today’s Zaman, created a tectonic shift in Turkish politics. It led to the resignation of four ministers in the government of the then prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on 17 December 2014.

Stories about sacred figures are not the only tool we have in the quest to end persistent gender inequalities in families, communities, and societies. Historical knowledge helps.