In this study we have measured the caspase-like proteasome activity in individual male and female Drosophila flies by using a non-denaturing lysing technique that consistently extracts total protein. The mean proteasome activity in control C1 females was more than 2 times higher as compared with that in C1 males. However, in longevity-selected LS1 flies the proteasome activity was significantly lower compared to C1 flies, but the sex differences were maintained to some extent. Five other stress resistant lines also had significantly reduced proteasome activity in both sexes. During ageing, there was a progressive decrease in proteasome activity in C1 females, but not in C1 males. This age-related decline in proteasome activity observed in C1 females was not observed in LS1 flies. We conclude that the proteasome activity in control male and female flies is significantly different from each other and that increased lifespan and stress resistance lead to a reduction in proteasome activity and recession of the age-related decline observed in control females.