Mothers and babies at the U.N. on International Women's Day

The United Nations is the home of international diplomacy, but on Thursday it was home to a new class of fresh-faced diplomats, namely several hundred babies and toddlers, and their mothers.

"Motherhood is not a weakness—it's a strength," a panelist announced to the applause of hundreds of moms in the conference room inside the U.N.

The occasion was International Women's Day. The event, #MamaMeet2018, was put together by New York City-based Mindr and the Women's International Forum.

"We wanted to wake up the U.N. and the world, in some way, to the reality of being a young mother and the value of their voices being brought to the table at a public debate," said Latica Tomasic, the vice president of the International Women's Forum. 

The event drew nearly 500 moms eager to discuss the issues now at the forefront of the modern women's movement.

Amy Holson-Schwartz, who brought her 9-month-old daughter, said equal legislative representation is a key issue.

"Without equal representation, we're not going to get equal pay," she said. "We're not going to get equal rights."

Top of mind for Alexandra Danielsson-Varley, mom to a 3-month-old, is parental leave in the United States.

"I think that's the main issue, where the U.S. has to catch up to rest of the world," she said.

The forum at the U.N. was one of more than a dozen all over the world. While it focused on serious subject matter, it wasn't without plenty of playing, bottle breaks, and, yes, even a little crankiness. 

"Mothers are saying, 'You know what, we are [caregivers] and nurturers but we're also decision-makers and power players, and negotiators—both in the home and out,'" said Sarah Lux-Lee, the meetup organizer and the founder of Mindr.