Panda women of the year
Now the corporation has caused controversy by including a member of the fairer sex who is not even human among the 12 females on its Faces of 2011' list.
Panda women of the year _ First the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year shortlist didn't feature a single woman.
Giant panda Sweetie, also known as Tian Tian, was listed on the BBC's website as the female face of December, after she made headlines when she was moved to Edinburgh Zoo from China with a male panda to breed.
She joined 11 other notable names including shot U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Pauline Pearce ' dubbed the heroine of Hackney after she was filmed standing up to rioters in north London ' and Libyan Iman al-Obeidi, who burst into a press conference to reveal she had been gang-raped by Colonel Gaddafi's officials.
Also featured was chart-topping singer Adele.]
But the BBC has defended its decision to name Sweetie among the 12 women in its Faces of 2011 as 'a light-hearted addition' to the list.
The furore comes after, the BBC came under fire last month after its shortlist for the Sports Personality of the Year award did not include any women.
MPs accused the BBC of 'ignoring women's achievements' in 2011 by choosing an all-male shortlist.
A group of female MPs wrote to director general Mark Thompson, saying: 'This bias has led to a number of outstanding sporting achievements by women being entirely disregarded.'
'These lists aren't meant to be serious but coming so soon after the lack of women from their Sports Personality of the Year award it does seem as if the BBC hasn't noticed the wide and varied contribution women make to public life.'
A BBC spokeswoman said: 'Including Sweetie (Tian Tian) as one of the annual headline makers was a light-hearted addition to the list, and this isn't the first time it has featured a non-human.
In 2009, Benson the Carp, a much-caught giant fish, was August's entry on the male list and last year Peppa the Pig was on the female list for April.'
Sweetie's inclusion has caused a stir on Twitter, with many users suggesting alternative names for '£realwomenoftheyear'.
One user of the site, who tweets under the name campaigner, wrote: 'I'm rather torn over £pandagate. These things are never just black or white.'
The article was written up by freelance reporter Bob Chaundy, who told the Guardian the list was put together by BBC editors.
Responding to the debate, which sent the Twitter hashtag #pandagate trending, Chaundy tweeted: 'I didn't choose the BBC women faces of the year subjects, just wrote them. Two black eyes from wife though. Pandamonium!'
Twitter users also complained at the selection of women came to prominence simply because of high-profile weddings, such as Charlene Wittstock who married Prince Albert of Monaco, and the Spanish billionaire the Duchess of Alba.
And the worth of a place on the list of a US marine who used YouTube to ask Justin Timberlake to take her to the Marine corps Ball, as Corporal Kelsey de Santis did, has also been called into question.
Unsurprisingly the Face of April was connected with the Royal wedding, but while the UK version of the BBC's list had Sarah Burton, the woman who designed The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, as the entry for that month, worldwide audiences were offered the more recognisable figure of Pippa Middleton, whose worthiness of a place on the list many may also doubt