Maria Deraismes, a journalist and women and children’s rights activist, and Dr. Georges Martin, a Senator and Municipal Councilor of Paris, undertook campaigns for civil and political rights of women, the defense of the rights of oppressed children, against clerical intolerance and for the establishment of secular schools that respect the ideas of everyone.
Maria Deraismes was initiated on January 14, 1882 into the Lodge “Les Libres Penseurs’ of Pecq, a small town west of Paris. She was one of the first female Freemasons, thus becoming herself a symbol of the equality of initiation.
Eleven years later, on April 4, 1893, Maria Deraismes and Georges Martin, a well-known Mason, created in Paris the first Masonic Lodge for men and women. This Mother Lodge gave birth to the Grand Symbolical Scottish Rite Lodge “Le Droit Humain” establishing the equality of men and women, which later led to the birth of “The International Order of Freemasonry for Men and Women., Le Droit Humain”.
Maria Deraismes passed away on February 6, 1894, leaving the task of organizing and developing “Le Droit Humain” to Dr. Georges Martin. His strong and energetic will and insight allowed him to situate himself beyond borders, ethnic groups, religions and cultures. In a very short time, he managed to establish lodges outside of France, in Switzerland and England. Subsequently, the Order spread throughout Europe and implanted itself in other nations of the world as well.
“Le Droit Humain” was built on a wonderful dream : to unite humanity despite all existing barriers, ethnicities, geopolitical differences, religions and cultures.