In the operative freemasonry - in the guildas or corporations of workers - the term "brother" was currently used as a sign of recognition. The term "cunhadas" (sisters-in-law) is applied to the women of the family of freemasons normally the wives or the companions of our Brethren. In the liberal or irregular freemasonry which includes women (maçonas) the related term is "sister" (Irmã). According with the regulations of Grande Oriente Lusitano (GOL) - the larger Portuguese grand lodge - female freemasons are authorized to assist to the men lodge sessions, although they are not allowed to be initiated in them. This Portuguese Obedience has loose the recognition of the United Grand Lodge of England because of its breakup with the Rule of the 12 points generally accepted and enforced by universal regular freemasonry as the basic code for recognition among masonic Grand Lodges, Grand Orients and lodges between themselves.
Through the initiation a sort of intimacy hardly expressed by words is created among freemasons and is complementary to the profound and indestructible friendship among freemasons. It is important that the recent initiated freemason learns to manage, as early as possible, what is the reality of being part of another family, a second parallel to its blood-related family.