Saudi uni to open driving school for women

RIYADH • A university in Saudi Arabia has said it will open a driving school for women, in a first for the ultra-conservative country after a ban on women driving was lifted.

"Princess Nourah University is preparing to set up a driving school in cooperation with the authorities," the women's university said last Saturday.

"This is the first such announcement following (the) order by King Salman to allow women to drive," it added.

Saudi Arabia said last Tuesday it would allow driving permits for women under a royal decree to take effect in June, sparking euphoria and disbelief among activists who long fought the ban.

Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world to ban women from taking the wheel, and it was seen globally as a symbol of repression in the Gulf kingdom.

Princess Nourah University says it has more than 60,000 female students in Riyadh and other cities.

Last Tuesday's decision is expected to push women into the workforce and boost car sales, especially in the coming months before a scheduled imposition of a government value-added tax in January.

Carmakers including Nissan, Chevrolet and Ford have rushed to congratulate Saudi women, as millions of women are expected to hit the road in the kingdom in coming years.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2017, with the headline 'Saudi uni to open driving school for women'. Print Edition | Subscribe