Friday, September 3, 2010


Maria Deraismes (August 17, 1828 – February 6, 1894) was a French author and major pioneering force for women’s rights.
Born in Paris, Maria Deraismes grew up in Pontoise in the city’s northwest outskirts. From a prosperous middle class family, she was well educated and raised in a literary environment that led to her authoring several literary works but soon developed a reputation as a very capable communicator. She became active in promoting women’s rights and, in 1866, joined the Société de la revendication des droits de la femme, a feminist organization advancing the cause of education for women. In 1869, she founded L’Association pour le droit des femmes with Leon Richer.Following the ouster of Napoleon III, she understood the new politics of the day meant a more moderate approach under the Third Republic in order for feminism to survive and not be marginalized by the new breed of male power brokers emerging at the time. Deraismes’ work brought her recognition in Great Britain and an influence upon American activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton who met her in Paris in 1882 following Deraismes’ breakthrough membership in the Freemasons. A year later, she and Georges Martin organized the first Masonic lodge in the world to allow both men and women as members.
Maria Deraismes was initiated—on January 14, 1882—into Lodge “Les Libres Penseurs” of Pecq, a small village to the west of Paris.
She was the first female Freemason, symbolising initiatory equality.
Eleven years later, on April 4, 1893, Maria Deraismes and Georges Martin, a well-known mason, created in Paris the first co-masonic Lodge. Out of this co-masonic Lodge came the birth of the Grande Loge Symbolique Ecossaise “Le Droit Humain”, establishing the equality of men and women, out of which, later, came the birth of the International Order of Co-Freemasonry “LE DROIT HUMAIN”.
With other support of Suffragettes such as Hubertine Auclert, Maria Deraismes worked to achieve political emancipation for women, standing as a symbolic candidate in the elections of 1885. On her death in 1894, Maria Deraismes was interred in the Montmartre Cemetery. Her complete writings were published in 1895 and much information on her work can be found at the Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand in Paris.
To honor her memory, a street in Paris was named for her, and a statue was erected in a small park. The town square in St. Nazaire was also named in her honor.


  1. A small explanation my Brothers, the first woman begun in the speculative Masonry, (for that in the operability many exist, and also in the call "transition Masonry" of 1600) it was Mrs. Elizabeth Aldworth: 1693 - 1775 1

    Mrs. Elizabeth Aldworth The Hon. Elizabeth St. Leger, daughter of Lord Doneraile of Doneraile Court, County Cork, Ireland, was born in 1693 and married in 1713 to Richard Aldworth, Esq. From a narrative published by the family in 1811 it appears that, upon secretly observing the first two degrees of a lodge at labour in her father’s home, she was discovered and, after discussion, initiated in the Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft Degree. A champion of Freemasonry, further details of her life can be found in "The Hon. Miss St. Leger and Freemasonry," Ars Quatuor Coronatorum vol viii (1895) pp. 16-23, 53-6. vol. xviii (1905) pp. 46

  2. Thank you Brother for the enlightenment

  3. You welcome Brother, many more cases and other extremely strange ones exist, as that of a woman of a town in Spain (in a town near Asturias) that was not neither of the bourgeoisie or the nobility, era a humble woman that belonged to a Lodge of she practiced the Rite of Memphis-Misraim, and this certificate approximately in Masonic records that it was Master Mason, in 1889.
    Receive a great hug

  4. Although above cited examples demonstrate how women can improve communities in achieving mutual goals, they are still banned out of too many obediences. Can anyone explain to me why? Can anyone explain to me why freemasons do not realize the time to change has definitely come ? Thank you for your time and patience! Fedorah Grunhouse, Italy

  5. I don't understand the importance of trying to "Co-" everything. The third degree password and ritual, alone, calls for the exclution of women. Now, sorry that this offends some peoples idea of equality, but this was devised hundreds of years ago with a "specific" experience in mind for initiates. Male initiates. Being, or not being, a Free Mason is not a tread upon womens equality. Here in the U.S. (Illinois) membership in Masonry/O.E.S. is respected, but no O.E.S.'s are trying to be Masons (at least not that i've heard of)!
    Just like men aren't physically made to bear children, women aren't physically made to be Masons...and there's nothing wrong with that. If I EVER see a woman sitting in a lodge that i've been granted permission to enter, i will EMMIDIATELY approach the alter, thank whoever is pretending to be a Worshipful Master for allowing me to visit and, WITHOUT saluting, exit that place with all due haste. I wouldn't want the news that i had been there to circulate throughout the Masonic community. I suggest the same for all Regular Brothers. Submitted with fraternal (frat-) love, Brother Michael E. Rivers hailing from Northstar lodge #1, Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Illinois, and its jurisdiction.

  6. Good post.
    Heaven is under the foot of mothers.
    New born baby`s first call is "ma"(mother)
    Without mother who can give birth.
    World is under the kindness of mothers, so we have to give respect and love them.This is reciprocal.

  7. I don't think that is correct. Women are tied to being mothers as men are free to roam the earth as masonic fathers? No. And when masonry was created women were not respected for a being a mother. Women were treated as pawns. If a woman wants to attempt freemasonry, let her. Maybe one's wisdom may surprise you.