For those of you old enough to have watched “Our Gang” commonly known as “The Little Rascals”, you will be familiar with The He-Man Woman-Haters club. The club was a neighborhood boys club founded by Spanky and was made up of nearly all the boys who appeared on “Our Gang”. In the short film, "Hearts are Thumps", Spanky, Alfalfa, and Buckwheat have no interest in observing Valentine's Day. To prove it, Spanky establishes the He-Man Woman-Haters' Club to serve as their united front against the holiday. It is also (re)-formed in the short film: "Mail and Female" as a reaction to not being invited to a MacGillicuddy Girls party. After reading the comments on a Facebook post advertising a zoom meeting that UGLE (The United Grand Lodge of England) is sponsoring on May 4: "Freemasonry for Women", I believe that it might have evolved into a sub-set of our membership.
Full disclosure, I have absolutely no issue with Women Freemasons. I also have no problem with Co-Ed Freemasonry. I am a member of the Oddfellows, and pre-pandemic, I had the ability to sit in an Oddfellows Lodge made up of both men and women. I am more concerned about the survival of the Craft than I am with adhering to our landmarks. Our landmarks were created at times where other men were held as property, and when women were thought of as such. Landmarks can change. To illustrate my point, there was a time that a man having a physical deformity was ineligible for Masonic membership, but that landmark was dropped. I would like to believe that our membership has grown and become more enlightened over our long history, but reading some of the comments on the post quickly made me realize we still have a lot of growing to do.
While the United Grand Lodge of England does not officially recognize either Female Grand Lodge (The Order of Women Freemasons and Freemasonry for Women-The Honourable Fraternity of Anceint Freemasons or HFAF) in the UK as being officially being regular, it has stated they are regular in their practice. (See below for their official statement).
A statement issued by UGLE – 10th March 1999
There exist in England and Wales at least two Grand Lodges solely for women. Except that these bodies admit women, they are, so far as can be ascertained, otherwise regular in their practice. There is also one which admits both men and women to membership. They are not recognised by this Grand Lodge and intervisitation may not take place. There are, however, discussions from time to time with the women’s Grand Lodges on matters of mutual concern. Brethren are therefore free to explain to non-Masons, if asked, that Freemasonry is not confined to men(even though this Grand Lodge does not itself admit women). Further information about these bodies may be obtained by writing to the Grand Secretary. The Board is also aware that there exist other bodies not directly imitative of pure antient Masonry, but which by implication introduce Freemasonry, such as the Order of the Eastern Star. Membership of such bodies, attendance at their meetings, or participation in their ceremonies is incompatible with membership of this Grand Lodge.It states on its own website that they follow exactly the same ceremonies and wear the same regalia as male Freemasons, and they often work closely with those Grand Lodges on community and charity projects. The vast majority of members of UGLE that I know could care less about women practicing Freemasonry. Apparently, not so much for some members of our various Grand Lodges, mostly those in America. To be fair, I think this is a minority of members.
It is troubling to me that there is still this subset that has this misogynistic mentality. The idea that somewhere Women Freemasons are practicing Freemasonry is extremely upsetting to them. They fear that recognition of these Grand Lodges as regular might open the floodgates and have women wanting to join their lodge. They argue that women would be a distraction in the lodge room because apparently, men that proclaim themselves to have excellent character cannot control themselves around members of the opposite sex. I'm not even going to dignify the comments about exposing the naked breast with a response. Then there are the inevitable cries of: What about the landmarks! Hell would freeze over! Over my dead body! My obligation says something different! The logical fallacy in these arguments is the assumption that these Female Freemasons would want to join their lodge. To my knowledge, they don't want to infiltrate your lodge because they do not want a Co-Ed lodge, they just want to be able to practice Freemasonry with other females.
If women want to practice Freemasonry, then let them. The system of morality that Freemasonry teaches does not apply just to the male gender. The values that we promote do not either. In my mind the more people that practice the ideals of Freemasonry, the better our society is, especially in today’s world. I would further argue that our ideals are needed more now than ever before. Does it really matter if a “Recognized Regular” lodge is spreading them? I don't think so. Does it lessen or cheapen the way you practice Freemasonry in your own lodge? It absolutely should not. Please stop acting like they don't exist, or belittling them for existing when what they do has no bearing on you.