There are two groups of Women Freemasons. There are Co-Masonry lodges, which admit both men and women and there are Women Freemason lodges which admit only women.
The members of Co-Masonry lodges and Women Freemason lodges take Freemasonry and Freemason Ritual just as seriously as their all male counterparts.
Ascending the chairs in their lodges is a much slower process than in the all male American Freemasonry, as much study and a very high degree of proficiency is required.
While "regular" Grand Lodges across the world do not formally recognize "mixed" Co-Masonry (male and female) nor Women's Masonry, in many countries there is a growing measure of mutual respect bestowed upon some of these groups, many of which use the same working tools, lectures and ritual as regular Freemasonry.
Parallel Fraternal Spirit: Members of both Co-Masonry and Women Freemason lodges work toward the same Masonic ideals as that of regular male Freemasonry. They wish to be of service to their fellow man and woman.
Le Droit Humain is an organization which admits women Freemasons to the craft, however they are viewed as clandestine within regular Freemasonry.
The term "clandestine" in Freemasonry means not formally connected with "regular" Freemasonry.
Womens Freemason Lodges and Le Droit Humain generally recognize each other and are free to visit one another, although their rituals and traditions differ in minor ways.
Women's Freemasonry is growing in popularity around the world. Since the early 1900s, women's lodges have become quite widespread in France.
Internationally, women Freemasons now number in the tens of thousands and there are more than 60,000 women Freemasons in England.
Women Freemasons Working Tools:
Entered Apprentice Degree: Common Gavel, the 24 Inch Gauge and the Chisel.
Fellowcraft Degree: Plumb, Rule, Level and Square
Master Mason Degree: Skirret, Pencil and the Compasses
For American Freemasons, whose Masonic education does not include the skirret (nor the chisel and pencil), and who, therefore, may not be familiar with the skirret as one of the working tools of the craft, below is a description.
Skirret: One Of The Working Tools
A skirret is a line of cord on a reel. At the loose end of the cord is a stake. Within Freemasonry, It is used symbolically to create a straight and undeviating line of conduct. The spool of cord resides on a cord holder which freely rotates on a center pin. We might commonly see this tool used by a gardener in which to create straight rows of crops.
The rotating cord holder reels out the cord which is stretched tightly. In this way, the skirret was used to mark out straight lines to create not only straight rows of crops, but perfectly straight lines for the foundation of a building or edifice. In most non-American, but English-speaking, all male regular Freemason lodges which work Emulation or similar or related ritual, the skirret is one of their working tools, as well.
Features of Women Freemasons Lodges
Each local group is called an Obedience.
Membership is by invitation only
Everyone is eligible regardless of race, creed, ethnic background or sex.
All members are expected to actively participate or resign.
All gatherings are formal and not social occasions
There is no "G" in the Masonic symbol for Droit Humain lodges. There is, instead, a star, or both a "G" and a star.
If you are interested in learning more about Womens Freemasonry and Co-Masonry lodges, websites and contact information is below.
Le Droit Humain Freemasons Organizations (Co-Masonry) in the World
Droit Humain...(which means "Human Rights")
The oldest Masonic organization admitting both men and women is The International Order of Co-Freemasonry (IOCF), known as "Le Droit Humain", which was founded in Paris in 1893
Droit Humain Headquarters: (The British Federation of the International Order of Co-Freemasonry) http://www.droit-humain.org/uk/html/hq.html
World Droit Humain lodges: Le Droit Humain has lodges in Canada, the U.S.A., Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Japan.
European Droit Humain lodges: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Great Britain and Greece.
Le Droit Humain Locations: http://www.droit-humain.org/uk/html/uk_locations.html
Other International Co-Masonic Organizations
The Eastern Order of International Co-Freemasonry http://comasonic.net/
International Women Freemasons Organizations
The Order of Women Freemasons in England owf.org.uk
The Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons, - London hfaf.org
Women's Grand Lodge of Belgium
Grande Loge Feminine De France http://www.glff.org/internet/index.php
Co-Masonry in the United States
American Federation of The Order of International Co-Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain http://www.comasonic.org/
Women's Co-Masonry in the U.S.A. http://www.womenfreemasonsusa.com/ The official web site of the 4 U.S. Women's Lodges chartered by the Women's Grand Lodge of Belgium,. This site also includes information about the history of women's Freemasonry, as well as about each individual lodge.
American Co-Masonry under the auspices of the American Federation of Human Rights, P. O. Box 70, Larkspur Colorado 80118, Tel: 1-303-681-2028
Co-Masonic lodges may be found in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Women Freemasons Lodges in the United States
Womens Freemasonic Lodge of Los Angeles: http://womenfreemasons.com/areyouinterested.html
This is not a complete list, so if anyone wishes to send me other Women Freemasons website URLs, I will place them on this page. Please use my Contact Us link, to do so. Thank you.
The photo of a female Freemason at the top of this page comes from the book, "Haunted Chambers - The Lives of Early Women Freemasons", by Brother Karen Kidd.
It is a well-researched, non-fiction book about women Freemasons down through history within a currently male dominated craft.
Many Masons are familiar with the story of Elizabeth St. Leger, (1693-1772), who, upon being caught eavesdropping upon an Irish Masonic lodge while it was in session was reportedly made a Freemason.
This book chronicles not only several speculative female Freemasons from the early 1700s and later, but looks back into women's roles in Freemasonry during the time of the Guilds in the Middle Ages.
If you own a Kindle bookreader, here is the Kindle version of Haunted Chambers: the Lives of Early Women Freemasons at Amazon.com.
Masonic Education Builds Masonic Retention
Return from Women Freemasons to Freemason Ritual
Return from Women Freemasons to Masonic Education