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Women's Freemasonry

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Anderson’s Constitutions (the founding document of Freemasonry) prohibited women from joining Freemasonry ; it also prohibited from joining anyone without the status of free person, an essential criterion to be a Freemason.

Nevertheless, the intellectual and moral qualities of particular women led certain men to change their opinion in this matter, and starting in 1725, Women’s Lodges, called « Adoptive Lodges », were created in France.

Under the authority and management of the Men’s Lodges, the Adoptive Lodges had no autonomy whatsoever. Modesty, discretion, fidelity, and chastity were the themes of the initiation, which was very different from the men’s initiation.

The activities of the Adoptive Lodges were primarily charitable in nature and consisted of balls and receptions. This type of Masonry could not last and appears to have died out after 1864.

At the same time, there was an attempt to create independent Women’s Lodges. This provoked confrontation between those for and against the presence of women in Freemasonry. Failed attempt !

At the end of the 19th century, the status of women began to be recognized, and from these feminist demands came a new obedience, in 1893: the Grande Loge Symbolique Ecossaise Mixte de France, le Droit Humain, which in 1899 became the International Order of Mixed Freemasonry – Le Droit Humain.

The history of purely Women’s Freemasonry began in 1901 when Brothers of the Grande Loge de France established new Adoptive Lodges,
still under the auspices of, and with the same name as, the Men’s Lodge. The Women Freemasons met regularly and debated the same topics as the Brothers. The Brothers could attend the Women’s meetings but could not impose any directive.

In 1935, the Grande Loge de France proposed granting the Adoptive Lodges complete autonomy … but war broke out and all Masonry activity was prohibited in French territory.

In 1945 (on October 21, 1945 to be exact), the Union Maçonnique Féminine de France was established and held its first General Assembly, called a « Convention ».

Seven years later, in 1952, the Union Maçonnique Féminine de France selected its own name and became the Grande Loge Féminine de France (GLFF).

Membership in the Grande Loge Féminine de France increased significantly because of women’s desire to meet up and work together on their own self-improvement, as well as on all the great concerns affecting humanity. But the Grande Loge Féminine de France also wanted to initiate women outside of France.
Thus, on April 20, 1974, it founded a first Lodge in Belgium (in Brussels), followed by three others (in Liège, Brussels, and Charleroi).

These four Lodges became independent of their mother Obedience on October 17, 1981 and formed the Grande Loge Féminine de Belgique - Vrouwengrootloge van België.

  
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