But he acknowledged other problems, including the way people are considered for prizes. Starting in 2018, he said, they would take steps to address the imbalance.
“I hope that in five years or 10 years, we will see a very different situation,” he said.
The first woman to receive the prize was Bertha von Suttner, an Austrian writer who was a leading figure in a nascent pacifist movement in Europe. She was recognized in 1905, two years after Marie Curie became the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize, in physics.
It would be another 26 years before another woman was selected for the award: the American Jane Addams, regarded as the founder of modern social work and an advocate for the concerns of children and mothers. She shared the 1931 prize with Nicholas Murray Butler, then the head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Other women to receive the honor include Mother Teresa in 1979; the legal reformer Shirin Ebadi of Iran in 2003; the Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai in 2004 and the education activist Malala Yousafzai in 2014.
In 2011, three women shared the award: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former president of Liberia; Leymah Gbowee, a peace activist from Liberia; and Tawakkol Karman, a journalist from Yemen who became the face of the “Arab Spring” uprising in her country.