Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The cost of having diabetes includes more than just medical care

This morning while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across this scary but unsurprising headline:

If You're One Of The World's 382 Million Diabetics, Your Wages May Dip

The article talks about both the developing world, in which there is quite a lot of variation by country as to how much diabetes will cost you in lost wages, and the first world.  Think we're immune to this kind of discrimination?  Hardly:

In the U.S., the analysis finds that employment opportunities for women with diabetes are reduced by about 50 percent, and that women with diabetes lose about $21,000 in earnings per year.

Of course, in a country that still pays its women 75 percent of male wages across the board, it should be unsurprising that diabetes affects women's employment and wages this much.  But I still find it offensive.  I remember when I was first diagnosed, one of my coworkers saying that I shouldn't tell any employer, ever, about my diabetes -- and then my employer there once complained about me checking my blood sugar in the classroom, even though I did it when and where the kids couldn't see.  And of course, there was my first job after college, which tried to actively discriminate against me by refusing to cover all of my health insurance despite doing so for my non-diabetic coworkers.


On the whole, though, I've been lucky.  It might be because I work mostly from home and for individual families, but I haven't had anyone restrict me unreasonably.  Most of the kids I take care of know about my diabetes, and their parents are okay with me checking my blood sugar and taking shots in front of them.

I know not everyone is as lucky, though.  Especially with type 2 diabetes, which carries a huge stigma due to the fact that people usually blame the person for it.  I'm sure some of the lost employment opportunities have to do with the inability to do certain jobs, which is unavoidable, but I know from experience that discrimination against people with diabetes -- any kind -- is still alive and well!

What about you?  Have you had any similar experiences of being discriminated against in the workplace due to your diabetes?

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