This week, Democrats in the Senate are to begin considering the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would add new regulations on how private companies pay their employees. Democratic lawmakers are seeking to overcome an expected Republican filibuster of the bill, which faces stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled House.

“The more light you can shine on wages, the better,” said Heidi Hartmann, the president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “Who knows how much stronger enforcement it will lead to. But I think the publicity — the fact that people will hear about it and know about it — will help.”

Even as Mr. Obama seeks to make an issue of the gender gap in compensation across the country, however, his own hiring is facing some scrutiny. The recent study, by the conservative American Enterprise Institute , showed that the median annual salary for women in the White House last year was $65,000, while the median annual salary for men was $73,729. The study was based on White House salary data.

The pay in the White House most likely mirrors the situation across the federal government, Ms. Hartmann said. “Women still tend to have lower pay grades than men do, because the men, on average, have more years of experience.”