Pope Francis said on Sunday men should listen to women's ideas more and not be male chauvinists.
The Argentine pope made impromptu remarks during a youth rally at a co-ed Catholic university in the Philippine capital, Manila, after he noted that four of the five people who addressed him on stage were male.
"There is only a small representation of females here, too little," he said, bringing laughter from the crowd.
"Women have much to tell us in today's society. At times we men are too 'machista'," he said, using the Spanish term for male chauvinists.
"(We) don't allow room for women but women are capable of seeing things with a different angle from us, with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions that we men are not able to understand," he said to more applause.
He noted that it was a 12-year-old girl, not any of the four men, who had posed the toughest question, asking why God allowed children to be abandoned..
He ended that part of his impromptu remarks with a joke: "So, when the next pope comes to Manila, let's please have more women among you."
Francis has said that, while the Roman Catholic Church's ban on women priests is definitive, he wants to appoint more nuns and other women to senior positions in the Vatican.