Amy K. Matsui is director of Income Security and senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center. She works on a broad range of economic issues affecting low- and moderate-income women and families, with special emphasis on federal and state tax policy. The views expressed here are her own. Read more opinion on CNN.
The new Netflix series “Maid” — largely based on the bestselling memoir of the same name by Stephanie Land — tells a story familiar to many mothers fighting to keep their heads above water. Fleeing a violent partner while trying to do right by her child, Alex (portrayed by Margaret Qualley) finds navigating the requirements of emergency shelters and public programs a Kafkaesque maze that adds to the trauma of her own poverty. “I need a job to prove that I need day care in order to get a job?” laments Alex while filing for child care subsidies. “What kind of f**kery is that?”