Women Freemasons

Women Freemasons have been meeting across the country for more than 100 years.

There are two female-only Grand Lodges: The Order of Women Freemasons and HFAF – Freemasonry for Women. They both follow exactly the same ceremonies and wear the same regalia as male Freemasons, and they often work closely with community and charity projects.

The United Grand Lodge of England has an excellent working relationship with both Grand Lodges. Members from Freemasonry for Women and The Order of Women Freemasons have both taken part in Open House London at Freemasons’ Hall in recent years in order to showcase female Freemasonry, as well as taking part in joint Freshers’ Fairs up and down the country as part of the Universities Scheme.

Joint Statement from United Grand Lodge of England, The Order of Women Freemasons’ and the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons

Joint Statement from United Grand Lodge of England, The Order of Women Freemasons’ and the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons

Some 300 years ago the Grand Lodge of England published the Constitutions of the Free Masons which was adapted into the Constitutions of the new United Grand Lodge of England (“UGLE”) in 1815. 

These same Constitutions were adopted in 1908 by the Honourable Order of Ancient Masonry, which decided in 1920 to restrict admission to women only, and by 1935 was an exclusively female Grand Lodge. In 1958 the name was changed to The Order of Women Freemasons’ (“OWF”). In addition in 1913 the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (“HFAF”) was formed, also, exclusively for women and it remains so today one hundred and eleven years later. 

Both organisations still operate today and, together with UGLE, follow the same rules and regulations and promote integrity, friendship, respect, and service.  UGLE is the largest and the oldest of the orders of Freemasonry in England and Wales and fully collaborates and shares premises with both the female Grand Lodges. All three Grand Lodges have been involved in Open House London at Freemasons’ Hall in recent years to showcase both male and female Freemasonry as well as taking part in joint activities up and down the country, for example as part of the Universities Scheme or attending major meetings. There is much local cooperation throughout the country.   

Neither OWF nor HFAF has any desire or intention to change their exclusively female membership, and their members value the practising of Freemasonry in a safe and single sex environment. This is supported by UGLE. Both Women’s Orders are entirely supportive of the UGLE remaining an exclusively male organisation. Such an approach is not uncommon in other aspects of life, for example sports teams, and is entirely consistent with the principles of freedom of association so fundamental to the way of life in this country. 

All three Grand Lodges will continue to work together to remove misconceptions and myths, as well as tackling prejudice, about Freemasonry which is a secular, inclusive and law-abiding activity in the United Kingdom. Its members are strongly encouraged to play an active and positive role in the communities where they live, through service by giving their time, skills and expertise to local organisations, as well as supporting local charities with donations.

The Order of Women Freemasons

The Order of Women Freemasons is the oldest and largest Masonic organisation for women in this country and works on the lines of regular male Freemasonry. It was constituted as the Grand Lodge of the Honourable Order of Ancient Masonry in 1908 and adopted the title ‘The Order of Women Freemasons’ in 1958.

The Order originally included men and women but in the early 1920s a decision was made to restrict admission to women only, and by 1935 it was an exclusively female organisation. The Order’s headquarters have been situated in Notting Hill Gate, London, since 1925 and are run by the Grand Master and her secretariat, who undertake their duties on a voluntary basis.

Women of any race or faith can join – they should be 21 years or older, be of good character and believe in a Supreme Being. The Order has approximately 4,000 members in more than 300 Craft Lodges spread throughout the UK and overseas, which meet a minimum of four times a year. The Order also actively encourages all members to join the further and higher degrees.

The Order also has The Pembridge Society, a group for new and young Freemasons who meet to advance their Masonic knowledge. It is planned for similar groups to be set up nationwide.

The Order is actively involved with UGLE in promoting the Universities Scheme, and during the last few years has worked alongside UGLE members at university Freshers’ Fairs throughout England and Wales, from which they have welcomed new members into many of their Lodges.

HFAF – Freemasonry for Women

Freemasonry for Women, founded in 1913 as The Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons, is a Masonic fraternity for women. It has Lodges in the UK and overseas, and about 800 members.

The Lodges have exactly the same aims and ideals as their male counterparts and have identical organisational structures. Their members are encouraged to practise charity, both publicly and privately, and to treat each other fairly at all times.

HFAF is a small but vibrant community of individuals, with members of all ages, backgrounds and religious beliefs. Freemasonry has evolved over the centuries as a system of moral guidance and education, characterised by allegory and symbolism, enabling its members to follow a common purpose of living a moral life for the good of themselves and society.

It promotes the ideals of Masonic brotherhood with special emphasis on three particular benefits for women: friendship, inspiration and empowerment. Being a member of a Lodge creates a special bond between women, no matter what their background. Friendship is important in today’s increasingly online world, where we can often feel isolated and lonely.

HFAF aims to inspire its members to become the best version of themselves possible and in turn inspire those who come after them. Everyone needs a role model in their lives.

HFAF believes that every woman should be empowered by increased self-confidence and belief in her abilities. Taking part in the Lodges and ceremonies provides many opportunities to discover both new and latent talents.