Freemasons admit first woman

France's masonic order has finally admitted women to membership after 277 years

30 April 2010

CONTINENTAL Europe’s oldest masonic order, the Grand Orient de France, has finally admitted women to membership, 277 years after it was founded.

The move, which comes after decades of campaigning, allows women to become sisters of the brotherhood but the final decision on individual cases will be left to each of the country’s 1,500 lodges.

It comes after a near-split in franc-maçonnerie ranks last autumn when several lodges walked out of the annual meeting in protest after a vote returned 56% of lodges against allowing women to enter the organisation. Some lodges had already adopted women through informal initiations sauvages.

Grand master Pierre Lambicchi then called an internal commission, the Chambre Suprême de Justice Maçonnique, to rule on the matter and it said the rulebook did not ban women. The new rule comes into immediate effect.

The Women’s Grand Lodge Of France is the main women’s order and there is a mixed order known as Le Droit Humain.

English merchants started the first masonic lodges in France in Dunkirk and Mons in 1721.

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
Brexit and Beyond for Britons in France*
Featured Help Guide
What the Brexit deal means for UK residents of France, second homeowners and visitors in 2021 and after
Get news, views and information from France