The annual ‘Faces of 2011 - the women’ list of 12 female personalities to make the news this year, includes US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived being shot in the head in January, singer Adele and one of the Pandas relocated to Edinburgh Zoo, known as ‘Sweetie’ or ‘Tian Tian’.
The Pandas moved to Edinburgh in December, on loan from China for a 10 year period.
The Twitterverse has reacted to the inclusion, with the term #pandagate quickly trending in the UK.
The BBC recently came in for criticism when no women were included in the list for Sports Personality of the Year earlier this month, with the inclusion of Sweetie thought to be another insult to the female gender by the corporation.
‘Are there any women on the BBC's Pandas Of The Year list?’ asked @andrew_Mueller while @jamesrbuk tweeted ‘Oh, BBC. Bet whoever made the 'whimsical' panda suggestion is being hung up by their thumbs as we speak.’
"Train journey to Leeds has turned into feminist discussion between me and my Sis following BBC," tweeted @leepster, while former deputy prime minister John Prescott commented; "BBC couldn't find a woman for Sports Personality of the Year but could find a panda for a female face of 2011! "
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."