We can say, without reservation, that this has been our favorite weekly contest we’ve ever held here at 500px. In honor of International Women’s Day and the UN’s call to action, “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!” we asked you to join our efforts to empower women and girls through photography this week.

The response has been nothing short of tearjerking. Picking a winner has been incredibly difficult and we’ve found ourselves inspired, moved, and at times tickled by your creativity and heart. Today, we are more proud than ever to be a part of the 500px community.

But before we get to listing our favorites and announcing the winner whose image will grace our social media banners for the next two weeks, we have two months of Awesome to give away.

500px Awesome Subscription Giveaway Winner

In addition to the feature and the prize, each contest also includes a random draw giveaway for all those who enter. Anyone who enters has the chance to win two months of free Awesome membership! This week’s lucky random winner is Robert Maric. Congrats Robert, we’ve upgraded your account to Awesome for the next two months on the house!

#PictureIt Contest Winner

This past week the challenge was to empower women and girls through photography. More specifically, we wanted you to join us and SheStock in adding stock images to 500px Prime that break with stereotypes.

We received almost 150 entries that ranged from touching to symbolic, and narrowed our favorites down to the 31 below. One of them, revealed after the set, is the grand prize winner who will be the banner of our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ social pages seen by millions each week.

Scroll down and get ready for some inspiration in honor of International Women’s Day.

There were so many great submissions that picking a winner was truly difficult, but in the end we had to choose. And so while we adored photos like Carlos M. Almagro’s “A Whole World to Know” and Laurens Kaldeway’s “Library“, the winner by popular demand at 500px HQ is…

Drum Roll Please…

The Strength Within” by Lilia Alvarado

This photo speaks to us on so many levels they’re impossible to list. It touches multiple generations, defies stereotypes, is wonderfully inspirational, and deeply moving. Congratulations to Lilia, and thank you for using our humble little photo sharing service. We’re so proud to have you as part of the 500px community.

Starting tomorrow, this image will be the banner for the 500px and 500px Prime Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts. But you don’t have to wait. Like and favorite by hovering over the embed above, and then follow Lilia on 500px and Facebook, or pay her website a visit.