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University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies releases white paper on findings of Mothers Overcome More™ Report highlighting invisible labor of working mothers 

By Sharla Hooper

Dr. Joy Taylor explores how invisible labor impacts self-sufficiency and what employers can do to support working mothers

University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies releases a new white paper, “Invisible Labor: An Examination of the Perceptions of Moms in the Workplace,” authored by Joy Taylor, Ed.D., associate faculty at the College and senior research fellow in the Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research (CWDIR). The white paper explores findings from the 2023 Mothers Overcome More™ or the M.O.M.™ report related to the invisible labor of working mothers and intersections with family resilience and employer support.

The invisible labor of mothers describes the mental and emotional burdens of managing myriad family and household demands such as finances, children’s feelings and discipline, childcare conflicts, guidance, preparing meals, and transport of children to and from activities. While these actions translate into durable skills such as organizing, time-management, decision-making, and delegating, the M.O.M.™ report found that although 89% of lower-income moms in the survey see these skills applicable to the workplace, 49% perceive them as not valued by employers.

“Motherhood presents challenges compounded by external financial barriers that can discourage moms from applying for higher-paying jobs, making attaining self-sufficiency less likely,” states Taylor. “Working mothers express interest in furthering their education to qualify for better-paying jobs but require recognition of the demands on their time and a strong support system at work to make this a reality.”

The white paper explores the M.O.M. report and related research to highlight how bearing an unequal proportion of responsibility for the care and well-being of family management can be particularly difficult for working mothers if they do not receive adequate support. Advocating for the engagement of employers in understanding and recognizing the invisible labor of working mothers to help their self-sufficiency, Taylor highlights workplace support options such as education and training guidance, on-site childcare, paid parental leave, and flexible scheduling. “Developing self-sufficiency and a work-life balance can positively impact a working mom’s mental health and her mindset,” Taylor states.

Taylor is an associate faculty of the College of Doctoral Studies at University of Phoenix and a former classroom teacher, school principal, and district administrator with nearly forty years of experience in K-12 education, who has worked with a wide range of school improvement stakeholders. A first-generation college graduate, Taylor fully embraces the role education, mentoring and strong relationships play in navigating a path to success in the world of public education. She earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration at Nova Southeastern University, and a master's in Educational Leadership and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at the University of Central Florida. Taylor is co-recipient of the inaugural University of Phoenix President’s Award for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Research.

The full whitepaper is available on the Research Hub or as a direct link here.

About University of Phoenix 

University of Phoenix innovates to help working adults enhance their careers and develop skills in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, skills-mapped curriculum for our bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and a Career Services for Life® commitment help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit

About the College of Doctoral Studies

University of Phoenix’s College of Doctoral Studies focuses on today’s challenging business and organizational needs, from addressing critical social issues to developing solutions to accelerate community building and industry growth. The College’s research program is built around the Scholar, Practitioner, Leader Model which puts students in the center of the Doctoral Education Ecosystem® with experts, resources and tools to help prepare them to be a leader in their organization, industry and community. Through this program, students and researchers work with organizations to conduct research that can be applied in the workplace in real time.


The Mothers Overcome More™ or the M.O.M.™ report is one of the most comprehensive studies to date on the barriers American mothers face in their day-to-day lives, and the impact these barriers have on career development and advancement opportunities. The study was conducted by the University of Phoenix Career Institute®, part of the University’s College of Doctoral Studies, in partnership with Motherly— a platform of storytellers, teachers, shoppers and advocates for mothers— in order to provide insights on lower-income mothers and to help identify solutions to support and advance them on the path to self-sufficiency.

The M.O.M.™ report comprised a 20-minute online survey of lower-income moms (n=1,000) and middle- and higher-income moms (n=500). All participants were U.S. adults (age 18 and up) who were employed or seeking employment at the time of research. Researchers conducted fieldwork between July 19 and Aug. 3, 2023. Income categories were determined using the University of Washington School of Social Work’s Self-Sufficiency Standard. A full methodology can be found at