Welcome to the world of lefties

It is difficult to know exactly how many left-handed people there are in the world, but most studies estimate that they make up between 10 and 20% of the population. Why does this minority of people use their left hand? How do the left-handed get by in a world designed by and for the right-handed?

The mysterious world of the left-handed

Scientists agree that the difference between lefties and righties lies in the brain. In the brains of right-handed people, the left hemisphere is dominant, whereas the opposite is true for the left-handed. The dominant hemisphere manages more structured functions such as writing and speaking.

But why do more than 80% of the population have a dominant left hemisphere? It would be more logical if we were all right-handed, all left-handed, or even if the world were split down the middle, 50/50. We still don't have the answer to this question.

Living in a right-handed world

For a long time, left-handed people were retrained to become right-handed. Tools, utensils, daily tasks, learning at school: the ergonomics of all equipment has been designed and handles affixed with only the right-handed in mind. So, left-handed people had to adapt and overcome what was seen as an anomaly or even a disability.

Left-handed people forced to use their right hands to appear normal were called 'shifted sinistrals'. It took until 1947 for a report from the French Ministry of Education to denounce left-handed children being "forced to write with their right hands". The message? Being left-handed is not a disability, it's just a fact.

Needs gradually taken into account

Little by little, businesses started to take an interest in the left-handed. After all, 10 to 20% of the population (and therefore consumers) is not an insignificant market! Moreover, at the start of the 2016-2017 school year, the French Ministry of Education asked the "school supplies commission" to take into account "the problems faced by left-handed students, particularly their need for specialised equipment".

As a result, you can now find scissors, pencil sharpeners and geometry tools designed for the left-handed. You can also find more unusual items, such as boomerangs, saucepans with spouts, guitars and corkscrews that turn in the opposite direction. Finally, left-handers no longer have to adapt!

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