Berntsen, who was proposed as nominee to the award by workers at the border guard’s main camp Sør-Varanger Garrison (GSV), was given the award for always focusing on gender equality and the personnel’s welfare. He has integrated girls and boys in the same squads; they live in the same barrack rooms and accomplish the unit’s tasks together, GSV’s Facebook page reads.
The gender equality award is given out once a year during the Norwegian Armed Forces’ Women’s Conference.
In an interview with Forsvarets Forum earlier this year Berntsen said that there is a clear need for women in the Armed Forces: - We need diversity and more impulses to be able to execute our missions better.
- From my service in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Norway I have experienced that units with personnel of both sexes are those that perform best, he added.
Some 40-50 of the 600 soldiers and officers at GSV are women. The total share of female soldiers and officers in the Norwegian Forces is 8.5 percent.