An array of challenges face Bangladesh today, ranging from urgent to enduring and entrenched problems, from the refugee crisis to rampant corruption at all levels of government and even society, from militancy to climate vulnerability.
But almost all of them have a common denominator: Overpopulation.
The Health Ministry even predicted that we would not be able to achieve the coveted status of a developed nation by 2041, as we have targetted, unless we somehow manage to drive down the fertility rate.
In a past editorial, we argued that empowering women was the way to go, because women with more agency are likely to have fewer children and have them at a later age.
At the core of the problem is the fact that women are having children at too young an age, which means new generations are born within shorter spans of time, causing the population to grow faster than in the case of other countries, where women wait longer to have children.
Women with more control over their lives can make educated decisions on when to have children, and those decisions will put a check on the population growth rate, which right now is a little out of control.
A single line of action is not enough; we need to combine several approaches for maximum effectiveness.
Awareness-raising programs need to be ramped up, with an emphasis on going door-to-door, especially in remote areas, because many people are unwilling to make the effort to attend workshops or go to clinics where they can find the resources they need.
Dhaka Tribune, October 5, 2017