Her comments were made during an interview with The Times last weekend which have emerged today.
"As an employer we’re not, let’s face it, most of us don’t employ men as nannies, most of us don’t," she said. "Now you can call that sexist, I call that cautious and very sensible when you look at the stats. Your odds are stacked against you if you employ a man.
"We know paedophiles are attracted to working with children. I’m sorry but they’re the facts."
Victoria Flint, Director of Communications at PACEY says:
“We are shocked and appalled at reported comments made by Andrea Leadsom inferring that men working in childcare pose a risk to children. As the professional association representing childcare professionals for almost 40 years we have seen significant growth in the number of men working in the early years sector, a trend we want to see continue. We know from many of the families working with our male nursery workers, nannies and childminders that men provide positive strong role models for the children in their care. These comments are outrageous, and are totally out of step with the reality of the workforce.
“By choosing registered childcare, parents automatically have reassurance that rigorous checks have been made and recruitment processes followed – safeguarding children is central to high quality early years education.
“Childcare providers, whether men or women, strive every day to create happy, supportive settings in which children can thrive, learn and grow. It is extremely concerning that unhelpful opinions like this could further discourage entrants into the early years sector – a sector already facing a recruitment crisis. This is a time when we need to come together to support childcare providers who help to give our children the best start in life.”