Overpopulation is, without a doubt, one of the greatest challenges faced by Bangladesh today.
It has been predicted that unless we manage to bring down our fertility rate, we may not be able to meet our development targets, and that includes our goal of becoming a developed nation by 2041.
The blame for this problem lies largely on our woeful state of family planning, with people reluctant to take adequate measures for fear of social stigma, religious taboos, and misinformation that circulates about contraception.
But at the heart of the matter is the fact that most women are still not empowered enough to make the right decisions, and hence rush into having families too early in life.
In Bangladesh, compared to most developed nations, women have children at too early an age, which means new generations are born within shorter spans of time, causing the population of our country to grow faster than in other countries.
Women often choose this path because they simply have no other choice.
The solution lies in empowering, and educating women -- women with greater control over their lives can make better informed decisions on when to have children, and also have greater agency over decisions in the family.
In that regard, several different lines of action must be taken to empower women for maximum effectiveness.
This means that awareness programs need to be ramped up, and women in remote areas with little knowledge of birth control need to be reached.
It is not enough to simply preach the virtues of birth control when so many women are simply not allowed to make decisions -- to combat overpopulation, we need to look at the bigger picture.