Alberta’s Aviation Museum was among many organizations around the world celebrating International Women’s Day on Saturday.

The United Nation’s (UN) theme for the day was equality for women is progress for all, something female pilots said was key.

“There is definitely a bit of the old boy’s club factor in aviation and I feel like that is something that does hold some women back but it is something that shouldn’t,” Victoria Hinderks told CTV News.

Hinderks, already a glider pilot, has been studying for her private pilot license and said the aviation industry was still dominated by men but that was changing.

Learjet-35 first officer, Natalie Esser, agreed.

“There are quite a few, it is just the percentages are way off compared to many other professions.”

Esser said becoming a pilot was not often encouraged for young girls and the career was not always family-friendly with long hours away from home.

However, that is one of the things that she likes about her job.

“It is totally normal for me to be thousands of miles away from my house and I just get to come back home at night and it is just like ‘Oh, five hours ago I was in Mexico or whatever’ so it is kind of cool that way.”

“I really do it for fun. I like the feeling it gives me,” Hinderks explained, adding she was considering applying as a pilot for the Canadian Military.

She said she was surprised to hear about the female WestJet pilot who was told the cockpit was no place for a woman in a note left by a passenger.

“Women have already done all their firsts. It is the same qualifications for everyone,” Hinderks said.

“The pilot probably had over 10,000 hours of experience.”

International Women’s Day was first recognized by the UN in 1975.

The Alberta Aviation Museum, based in Edmonton, held sessions for people to learn more about the women in aviation history.

A screening of Girl Rising was also hosted at Edmonton’s Metro Cinema to mark the day.

With files from Sarah Richter