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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

Apart from a few exceptional references to female freestone masons in the Middle Ages, and an even smaller number of incidental initiations of women in the early 18th century, Freemasonry is so far an exclusively male phenomenon. In 1774, the Grand Orient de France officially recognised the adoption lodges and gave them new regulations. The men who were members of the associated male lodge had access to the adoption lodge, which made the latter automatically mixed, even though it initiated only women. After the French Revolution in 1789, masonic activity in France, including that of adoption lodges, came to a halt, to be resumed only in 1800. During the second World War, women in large parts of the world, including Europe and North-America, discovered that they could run their affairs quite well, even when their men were at the front.

Keywords: France; Freemasonry; Grand Orient de France ; male lodge; Middle Ages; second World War

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