Some 41.3 percent of foreign-born women married to Korean men say they have experienced discrimination, according to a 2012 survey by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. The figure rose 4.9 percentage points from 36.4 percent in 2009.
The number of foreign women, including naturalized citizens, who are married to Korean men stood at 283,224 and that of multicultural households at 266,547. The ministry surveyed 15,000 women of them.
Among Chinese-born women, who make up a majority of 56.3 of foreign wives, the proportion who experienced discrimination was especially high at 44.2 percent. Next came Vietnamese women, who make up the second-largest group with 17.7 percent, with 35.3 percent who have felt discriminated against.
Among American and Japanese women, the proportion was smaller at less than 30 percent.
Out of 4,775 children of mixed parentage aged 9-24, 13.8 percent said they have suffered discrimination. Most of them experienced discrimination from friends or peers with 36.5 percent, followed by strangers (20.8 percent), neighbors (11.7 percent), teachers (9.5 percent), and relatives (5.5 percent).
But 96.9 percent who suffered discrimination said they responded passively.
Chun Ki-taek of the Korean Women's Development Institute, said, "Despite the government's efforts to help multicultural families, there still exists a lot of prejudice and discrimination."