Sir: As every schoolgirl knows there are lies, damned lies and statistics ("Women students miss out on firsts", 23 November). In my discipline, chemical engineering, once a male preserve, women now constitute approximately 20 per cent of the undergraduates. They are represented out of all proportion in the top degree classifications. Two years ago, of the 11 firsts, eight went to women. Perhaps the "maverick" gene necessary to gain a first is slowly being lost from the Y chromosome and the hard work put in by women students is finally beginning to pay off.
Dr GILBERT SHAMA
University of Loughborough