Riyadh: A university in Saudi Arabia has said it will open a driving school for women, in a first after a ban on women driving was lifted.
“Princess Nourah University is preparing to set up a driving school in cooperation with the relevant authorities,” the women’s university said on Saturday.
“This is the first such announcement following this week’s order by King Salman to allow women to drive,” it said.
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said 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.
Princess Nourah University says it has more than 60,000 female students in Riyadh and other cities.
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 2018.
Car makers 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.
In the royal decree read live on state television, June 2018 was set as the official date where the reversal would take effect.
Saudi leaders hope the new policy will help the economy by increasing women’s participation in the workplace.
Many working Saudi women spend much of their salaries on drivers or must be driven to work by male relatives.
There has never been a law in Saudi Arabia prohibiting women from driving but more of an unofficial ban was in place that restricted women from obtaining drivers licences.
Many of the kingdom’s professionals and young people will welcome the change, viewing it as a step to making life in the country a bit more like life elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor issued an arrest warrant on Saturday for a Twitter user who called for anyone who supports women driving to be killed, days after a royal decree ended a long-time ban on women taking the wheel.
The Twitter user, who was not named, was alleged to have referred to men who support women driving as “cuckolds who should be killed”, according to state-linked Asharq Al Awsat newspaper.
The prosecutor’s announcement comes two days after a separate arrest warrant was issued for a man who threatened in a video clip posted online to attack women drivers.
Many Saudis welcomed Tuesday’s announcement by King Salman lifting the ban by next year, but others expressed opposition online or in quiet conversations after decades of support for the policy by prominent clerics.
In the statement, the prosecutor vowed to monitor for threats of abuse and pursue cases against those who “incite attacks against society and violations of the rights of others”.