What does it mean that the first state ruled by women is also the state where local politicians are valued the least? Seelye notes that the state “has a long history of volunteerism,” and serving as a local rep is so low-paying that it “amounts to an act of volunteerism.” Maybe nonwealthy men were unable or unwilling to seek office. Maybe women were more easily accepted into a version of public office that was seen as a public service as opposed to a high-status, high-paid political gig. After all, volunteering is a historically feminine realm, where women have been able to find meaningful unpaid work while their husbands followed a traditional career track.As someone who is not an expert but has lived and voted in New Hampshire for a decade, I'd also point out that there are a ton of female state reps, yes, usually married women who don't work outside the home, but there are also a lot of retired people. The difference is that the young-ish women are the ones more likely to rise through the ranks and seek higher office rather than resigning after calling for eugenics.
So . . . yes, it's good that this system has managed to promote women. But I still think that a system that makes it virtually impossible for anyone who isn't independently wealthy, retired, or being supported by a spouse to get into local politics is ultimately problematic and needs to be changed.